Helene Schmitz Calls House of Sweden “Brave” for Displaying Her Photos

©Helene Schmitz_Turnings of Fire

While the House of Sweden remains closed to the public, there is a way in. The culture hub for all things Sweden is about to start offering a tour of a new photography exhibit… via Zoom with a live tour guide to start, and then in-person when possible.

The exhibit, “Dreamland,” is a curation of a dozen photographs and the sound installation “The Messenger,” both by famed photographer Helene Schmitz, as well as newly composed music by Lisa Montan.

Arranged in two parts — with the sound installation outside — Dreamland features Schmitz’ stark images from the northern part of Sweden which show humans’ impact on nature, including a hauntingly serene damaged woodland environment in the former production forests of Västmanland and the harsh but mesmerizing unprecedented excavations and extractions of natural resources on the Aitik mine outside Gällivare.

A fascinating video also shows the artist’s process and speaks to her motivation.

©Helene Schmitz_The Copper Mine

While her works have appeared around the world, the activist artist is proud to present this specially curated collection connected to today’s political themes at the House of Sweden through December 2021.

“It’s courageous and brave of the Embassy to do a project like this that… questions two of Sweden’s important economic contributors – forests and mining,” Schmitz said. She calls her photographs in the “Dreamland” series “a meditation on man’s relation to nature” with an ironic title, as the beauty in these disturbing images is juxtaposed with their climate message.

©Helene Schmitz_Winter Forest

“We don’t lack self-criticism,” said Sweden’s Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter. While she lauded her country’s ambitious goals for sustainability, she said “[this exhibit] shows also what we have done wrong.”

“The Embassy is proud to present this timely photo exhibition in House of Sweden,” said Olofsdotter. “Helene Schmitz’s photographs… [shed] light on the importance of urgent climate action. The Swedish government aims to do its part—both at home and abroad.”

Though the House of Sweden will be physically closed, the Embassy will host a virtual opening of “Dreamland” at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, March 25 with a presentation of the exhibition and a moderated conversation with the artist. Register here.

In addition, starting on Saturday, March 27, the Embassy will offer virtual tours of “Dreamland” on the weekends.

And until you can enter the building in person again, don’t miss hearing “The Messenger” on the pavilion, just outside and adjacent to the waterfront. This motion-activated recording of an endangered woodpecker is itself a surprising blend of Mother Nature and the mechanical.

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