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Katja Pettersson / Welcome Back

A solo exhibition by Katja Pettersson on climate anxiety and climate change in a wide range of expressions; installations, machines, film and objects.

Climate anxiety. Guilt. The feeling that, whatever one does, it is wrong – or at least too little. Katja Pettersson has given a great deal of thought considering how one can turn this feeling around. And in her art she experiments with understanding both environmental and climate problems, as well as how we experience them.

The Welcome Back Project is concerned with examining the Anthropocene, the epoch in which we find ourselves today; a period defined by human behaviour. Katja Pettersson invites us to enter a post-apocalyptic room, as though we are future visitors to a museum. Independent objects and clever machines that she has constructed herself – inspired by the Swedish scientist and inventor Christopher Polhem’s mechanical alphabet – act as historical capsules that encourage us to test our own thoughts, looking for answers within ourselves.

"In my work I am concerned with trying to find our way back to our relation to the four elements, that we are also part of nature. With the elements as intermediaries I hope that, rather than experiencing guilt about what we have destroyed, we can enjoy our earth in a way that changes us and what we do", Katja Pettersson explains.

The four elements of air, fire, water and wind are examined from a different perspective when Katja Pettersson defuses and disassembles what we know. With the help of scientific research she shows us how new realities can be constructed from used parts. One such work is her Critical CO2 in which she filmed carbon dioxide in a research laboratory, revealing how this unpopular gas, when exposed to extreme pressure, is transformed into a strikingly beautiful liquid. Making this invisible, essential, but dangerous gas visible is one way of establishing a relationship with this environmentally ultra-critical molecule.

Critical CO2 was also shown at The Stockholm Act, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern’s festival of sustainability in the summer of 2017.

Education is an important aspect of Katja Pettersson’s work and it is given plenty of space in Welcome Back. The collaboration between her work and her viewers – schoolchildren, students and ‘regular’ visitors – is decisive: Something must happen during the meeting.

Katja Pettersson works with total experiences: light, sound, defined constructed spaces, unique interactive objects and items that reveal contexts. Her playful, political practice is concerned with climate change and the conditions in which we live today.

Katja Pettersson works as an independent designer both on her own and with others, as an entrepreneur of equitable design and as a lecturer at Konstfack, Stockholm’s University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. She is a board member of Konstfack and of Steneby College. She is also one of the founders of the international design group Front which she left in 2009 to start 50/50, a collaborative firm in which designer and manufacturer work with the same conditions, sharing their skills and the company’s profits.

Katja Pettersson has worked as a guest artist at Gustavsbergs Konsthall’s project studio since June 2017. Besides her solo exhibition at Gustavsbergs Konsthall (which will later be shown at Vandalorum in Värnamo and at Form Design Center in Malmö), she is also working on an artistic treatment for the entrance patio for Stockholm City Museum.

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