Exhibition setting: Camera, Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Turin

Date: 9th February, 2019

Curator: Germano Celant

Location and setting: In the national photographic centre, the spaces for the exhibition were more than adequate to house the 100+ pieces which had been on show in Brescia in 2018. there was plenty of space to walk around the installations. The lighting was excellent and the signage in keeping with Italian ‘interpretation’ practice.

Example of the work:

Picnic on wine. 2003


Skoglund’s work is incredibly varied: there are staged photographs featuring humans and other animals, sculptures, installations, ceramics , and mixed media work reflecting an all-inclusive, interdisciplinary practice. In her staged photography are echoes of Jeff Wall’s, and Gregory Crewdson’s practices in that the attention to detail is terrific. Unlike Wall or Crewdson, Skoglund has humour, playfulness and surreal colour in her work which make it appeal to viewers of all ages.

Radioactive cats. 1980

The complex tableaux vivants have strong filmic qualities of domestic interiors as well as surreal scenography. In ‘Radioactive cats’, the sculptures become central to the presentation, while the complex narrative highlights the artist’s imaginative surrealism.

The dialectics between reality and fiction are seen vividly in Patients and Nurses (1982) which makes us question how safe the patients are. The nurses appear suspended in mid air – are they humans or mannequins?

Nurses and Patients (1982)

I found her work on the seasons interesting given my current work as she explores the psychological effect of the seasons:

Her ceramic work too is surreal:

Eyeflakes from Winter, 2018.

What I took away with me about the work:

Skoglund’s oeuvre in this show spans 4 decades and yet there is a fascinating surrealism, a disquieting and disorientating take on human behaviour which holds it all together. The subjects and materials may vary but the enquiring approach is the same. It shows an imaginative mind not afraid to express its concerns in a very engaging manner which leaves the viewers to interpret the work as they feel moved to feel it.

What I took away with me about me:

I loved the many ways Skoglund expresses herself producing cross-discipline work. I would love to see her sketchbooks, if she has any. her work is also multi-sensory: visual, olfactory (the smell of the wine in Picnic on wine 2003; texture and taste: her installation with jelly beans and paper butterflies:


Don’t be afraid to explore more cross-discipline ways of working. Skoglund explored the blurred boundaries between the real and the imagined, and both are realised. Be realistic, it took her 40 years to get to this point – I am trying to do it all at once. But why should I put a lid on my expression?

Next steps:

Get cracking with the exhibition preparation!

Star rating: *****

2 thoughts on “Sandy Skoglund in Turin

    1. Italian ‘interpretation’ or information board for exhibitions, is a lot more wordy than the English equivalent – lots more words & complex sentence structure. The translated versions reveal what a mouthful they are!


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