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MATRIX 261 features the work of Stockholm-based artist Cecilia Edefalk (b. 1954), whose work probes the uncertain nature of historical memory, time, and the visionary role of light. While Edefalk’s practice is intuitive and deeply personal, she variously explores notions of originality and multiplicity through a consistent use of repetition and seriality. Her attentive and reflective approach is evident in her paintings, photographs, watercolors, and sculptures.
Edefalk’s decades-long engagement with nature becomes manifest in the works included in this exhibition. For several years the artist has been visiting a dandelion-filled meadow near her house, capturing it with her camera in various moments of sunlight and states of bloom. In one monumental photograph on view in the exhibition we see a hand tenderly holding a perfect, spherical seed head before the wind carries the seeds away. Similarly, in the late 1970s Edefalk set out on a journey across Europe with a friend to document and draw coastal wildflowers she encountered in areas of historical significance in England, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The flowers and plants she carefully captures in watercolor act as her lens onto these ancient landscapes; a selection of twenty of these watercolors appear in the exhibition. Birch trees, which are quite common in Sweden, are another subject that has inspired the artist for many years. A series of cast bronze sculptures included in MATRIX 261 were inspired by a birch tree she witnessed falling to the ground—an experience she recounts as a disquieting moment of destruction and decay. She then molded dozens of sculptures from its branches, fixing her experience of this fleeting moment into concrete forms.
Other paintings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in MATRIX 261 point to her interest in historical sculpture, in particular a Roman marble mask of Marcus Aurelius that she encountered in the Malmö Konstmuseum. This spawned the series of paintings To view the painting from within (2002), in addition to a related series of photographs, To view the painting from outside, which shows the artist’s eye traveling around the mask, capturing shifting perspectives. Her exploration of the mask continues in another series of bronze sculptures that combine the mask with leaves and pieces of tree bark. In each work, Edefalk captures the evanescence of subjects that often exude a mystical and fragile quality marked by time and space. This is Edefalk’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast and her first in a US institution in ten years.