Färgfabriken, Stockholm


The exhibition Interpol at Färgfabriken was realized as a result of a long-term project conceptualized by Victor Misiano and Jan Åman. According to the initial concept, the project was idealized as a discussion based cooperation, with the aim to start a dialogue and communication from being a theme and underlying principle in the exhibition’s organization into something immanent to the project itself, where the curators are working as mediators of the artist’s collaboration, stimulating theme “to open their ideas to each other, making them more interactive and interwoven”.[1]

The exhibition ended up in a scandalous way and transformed into a widely debated study case, where not only the possible challenges and failures of the curatorial practice became extremely important case of a further examination, but also the individual and culture-political differences in the “West” and the “Rest” context.


[1] Misiano, Viktor. "Interpol. The Apology of Defeat." Moscow Art Magazine, no.1. "Digest 1993-2005" (2005).



Färgfabriken online archive 

The exhibition is visually almost like one work, with a lot of individual parts. Färgfabriken is transformed to a kind of laboratory setting with a tunnel of hair, telephone contact with the artists, a mobile embassy, a therapy taxi for riding through the city and much more.

Participants Bigert & Bergström (Sweden) with Johannes Albers (Germany), Ella Tideman (USA) och Petra Maitz (Germany) as chauffeurs, run a therapy taxi and a therapy café. Ernst Billgren (Sweden) cooperates with animals and nature, Oleg Kulik (Russia) and presents a new National academy. Alexander Brener (Russia) executes a series of performances on the theme “the language of emotion”. Anatolij Osmolovskij (Russia), will during the first three days run an election to dicide whether the exhibition should exist or not. Maurizio Cattelan (Italy) launches an international prize, Interprize – for supporting an international network in contemporary art, which will be given out for the first time at the opening. The winner is the French art magazine Purple Prose. Vadim Fisjkin (Russia) installs one phone per artist at Färgfabriken, where the audience can reach each artist via a mobile phone. Irwin (Slovenia) presents a mobile embassy from which the viewers may observe the exhibition. Dimitrij Gutov (Russia), presents a project by the Lifsjit institute of Hegelian theory. Wenda Gu (China), builds a tunnel made from human hair from Sweden and Russia. CM von Hausswolff (Sweden), Andrew McKenzie (England) and Ulf Bilting (Sweden) make a wired “sleep-in”, with a matress for each artist, where the audience is invited to sleep during the first few days of the exhibition. Ulrika Karlsson (Sweden) and Ioanna Theocaropolou (Greece), produce en series of flyers. Jurij Leiderman (Russia) invited three partners to work with, the Russian early 20th century philosopher Fjodorov, Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons. The result of the lack of communication will be evident at the exhibition. Birgitta Muhr (Sweden) and Matthias Wagner K (Germany), projects a pounding heart and a communication unit. Dan Wolgers (Sweden) has made a strange decision.

Therapy Taxi (1996) outside Färgfabriken

"Therapy Taxi" insert in "Interpol. A global network from Stockholm and Moscow" exhibition catalogue, 1996

Text: The Necessary Angel

By: Cecilia Sjöholm, literary critic and essayist from Stockholm
For: Bigert & Bergström
Other invited artists: Johannes Albers, Petra Maitz (unfortunately a late cancelling), Ella Tideman
Interpol history: At first B&B intended to invite another “artist-dual”, but for different reasons the contacts taken did not lead any results. Then they decided upon the first project that they had thought of for Interpol: terapi taxi. As drivers and partners in the construction of the taxibar at Färgfabriken, they invited three artists.
Project: Terapi Taxi
Music: Johan Vävare
Wardrobe: Pernilla Sparring


Imagine that you, somewhere, have a double. A counterpart, a twin spirit, someone who is the same as well as equal. Not an uncanny phantom, “Unheimlich” with its icy empty eyes, but an understanding and gentle spirit who knows your thoughts before you have the time to think, who anticipates your gesture before you have the time to move, who maps out your footsteps before you have started to walk. Someone who knows everything about you and whom you know nothing about.

Then you have imagined that you have an angel.

Angels live like we do, but they live on the other side. They are what we are becoming. They know what we are. We do not know what they are. Every step of the communication goes from top to bottom, not the reverse. Every angel is frightful, said Rilke. Your double is a symbol of omnipotence.

Why do we need angels? Silent, terrifying entity whose faces we never can see, who scrutinize u, whose goodness we never can be sure of, and who therefore continues to haunt our fantasies. He will listen to you, but will never give an answer.

However, the angel is an essential mediator, otherwise there is nothing between ourselves and our equals. Without and angel, there is no understanding. The angel is what is between. Between you and me, the one person and the other, the one who talks and the one who is silent. Irigaray has replaced the power of the phallus with the mediation of the angel as the necessary third. The angel is the third entity who creates order where there is no order, a link where is only emptiness.

But the angel is also a third entity, creating a necessary space. Imagine the chaos from which you come and to which you will once again return in the hour of devastation, as Stagnelius wrote; who is coming then, showing himself, lifting you up once again, giving new stability to your world? A friendly angel. A good double is always necessary reflection of ourselves, helping us to step out of chaos. The angel is twin as well as an entity. You marry with your angelic double, the gnostic believed. We take the step outside and still hope to be able to return by way of good double. We never cease to look for the good double, the mediator, the helper across our internal abyss. Why else are we always fascinated by the likeness of ourselves, by the twin? Why else do we believe that what is identical to ourselves always a bit better than we are? Unless we deep down cherish fantasies about angels being so much closer to us than anything we have ever seen in the real world, closer to our truth.

And why else do we need this stranger, this helper who quietly plays the part of the good double, at the same time infinitely close and infinitely absent? Unless we believed in this angelic mediator to our truth. In our culture the angel has been replaced by media technology; the part of the mediator has been replaced by a space where the same silent answer is waiting for us, lifting us in a miraculous way against ourselves. The communication reaches us, but at the same time its source is lost.

The angel of communication, the angel of history, the vital angel appearing in his dream; this angel we carry along from the very beginning as one of our most original visions. In our weakness we never cease to hope that he will present himself, that we ourselves will appear in the form of perfection, behind the reflection. That which we will become or strive towards – but which we in fact always have been.

But angels, helpers, twin souls have to faces. Good doubles can be transformed at any time and become “Unheimlich”, at any time remind us of what we keep back from our consciousness. Doubles and twin souls can destroy us at any time. That is part of their magic power.

Only angels grant us mercy, but also, only angels keep us in a state of fundamental destitution in front of the superior force. Because the angel knows what we do not wish the world to know. That is why the angel is frightful. It is not the angel who is “Unheimlich”, but we ourselves. What we fear when we see that one who knows everything about ourselves and who we know nothing about is an abyss that we only can fantasize about.


Sjöholm, Cecilia. “The Necessary Angel.” In: Interpol. A global network from Stockholm and Moscow. Edited by Jan Åman, Catti Lindahl, Magnus af Petersens, Richard Hammarskiöld, Ulrika Westlund. Stockholm: Färgfabriken, 1996, Chapter R4. Exhibition catalogue.

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