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Strangers to Each Other? A Study in Looking at the Work of Tora Vega Holmström
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Fashion Studies.
2012 (English)In: Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-3609, E-ISSN 1651-2294, Vol. 81, no 3, 150-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Tora Vega Holmström’s painting Strangers (1913 14) was the first contribution to the project Second Museum of our Wishes of theModerna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) in Stockholm in 2006. The painting had attracted the public’s interest before this, but had not received a great deal of attention from art historians and critics until the 1980s.Shifts that have occurred in the reception of the painting are examined. It is primarily as an Expressionist and as a woman artist that Holmström has been written about and exhibited. Swedish Art History has traditionally associated Holmström with the local art scene in the region of Skåne. In the late 1980s previously unknown correspondence between Holmström and the Austrian writer Rainer Maria Rilke was published. His interest in, and empathic interpretation of Strangers lent it a distinct cosmopolitan dimension.This study interprets Strangers from a spectator’s point of view and reflects upon the relationship between painting, model, artist and spectator. A performative model of interpretation, in the vein of Amelia Jones and Peggy Phelan, allows the author’s personal experiences to become part of the analysis. It is proposed that the artwork explores austerity, strength and resistance as visual effects.The painting is also placed in a broader cultural perspective, against the backdrop of the vitalist and primitivist currents of the early decades of the 20th century. In relation to a traditional stereotype of sexualised women, Holmström has emphasised the ambivalent construction of the subject by stressing the model’s inner energy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 81, no 3, 150-165 p.
National Category
Art History
Research subject
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82039DOI: 10.1080/00233609.2012.709275ISI: 000310588400003OAI: diva2:565179
Available from: 2012-11-06 Created: 2012-11-06 Last updated: 2015-03-17Bibliographically approved

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