Viewing Room Main Site


Martin Wickström: Popular Mechanics

September 21­– October 21, 2018

Opening with the artist in attendance September 20, 2018, 5 ­– 7 PM


Martin Wickström (b. 1957) ranks among Sweden’s most acclaimed living artists. Reveling in breathtaking plays of light, his photo-realistic paintings capture detailed renditions of everything from Americana aesthetic-inspired townscapes to bleak scenes of Nordic melancholia. Evoking sentiments of friendship, longing, and bittersweet nostalgia, his works visit places where goods times were once shared with departed friends, childhood memories of brotherhood, and moments, when something cherished, had to be sacrificed.


Architectural facades from various cultures and mountainous landscapes are recurrent motifs in Wickström’s paintings. The painted facades harbor secrets; they are reminders of lost moments and people who once lived behind the enigmatic walls. Split by sharp contrasts of light and shadow, his paintings leave subtle clues, hinting at something that once happened, yet without telling the whole story. They deliberately leave question marks hanging in the air, inviting us to finish the story in our imagination, endowing the content with a mythical, inscrutable quality. The recurring mountain motifs in his compositions pay homage to a friend who met with a fatal accident while climbing K2. 


In addition to paintings, the exhibition features nine display cases presenting miniatures of Wickström’s earlier major works. All told the exhibition spans 36 years of his career, from 1976 to 2012. Also featured is a selection of sculptural pieces and a hauntingly beautiful soundscape by the Swedish composer Magnus Grenstedt, forming a well-rounded totality paying a worthy tribute to one of Sweden’s best-loved artists.


Wickström graduated from Stockholm’s Gerlesborgsskolan in 1981 and the Royal Institute of Art in 1987. His works are represented in numerous major collections including Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, the Gothenburg Museum of Art, the Norrköping Museum of Art and the Fredrik Roos Nordic Collection.