You know I have probably read your letter three times (slowly and carefully)

A presentation of Eva Löfdahl´s letter correspondence after the expedition Swedartic Svalbard´97.
By Annelie Nilsson.

In 1997 the visual artist Eva Löfdahl is invited to participate in the social science expedition Swedartic Svalbard´97. The expedition is part of The Nordic Space-Polar Research and the Nordic Nations, an international research program. The sealer M/S Polar Star takes the expedition along the west and east coast of Spitsbergen during a week of summer in 1997. The Nothern Space considers its overriding subject matter to be the historical process that defines and produces national identity, traditions and collective memory.

Eva Löfdahl wants to make a spatial description of the expedition which relates to the participants external and internal motions to assimilate the surroundings. A while after the trip she writes to some of the participants to get their description of what happened during a week of expedition. For more than a year, Eva Löfdahl has a letter correspondence with Michael Bravo (Departement of Social Antropology at the University of Manchester),Olle Melander (Head of the expedition and now at the Euopean Tourism Research Institute in Östersund),Torgny Nordin (Department of Philosophy at the University of Gothenburg) and Piotr Rypson (artcritic and a curator but not part of the expedition).

The first time I was exposed to Eva Löfdahl´s letter correspondence with the participants of the expedition, was at the Museum of History (Stockholm, Archipelago, Capital of Culture in 1998). It was the perfect place for the letters since they relate to time, history and primal human activities.

Conceptions like prevalence, limitations, remote sensing, balance of positions and focus are recurrent in her correspondence. I read it over and over again and I never exhaust myself since new aspects and interpretations appear along the reading. I stop at misunderstandings and the fact that the participants don´t always know what Eva Löfdahl means. She explains once again and always with a new angle of incidence, which results in new understandings of Eva Löfdahl as an artist.

In my presentation I have focused mainly on the letters of Eva Löfdahl. The letter correspondence can be read in its entirity in Eva Löfdahl´s recently published catalogue. It can be purchased at the Konsthallen in Malmö, the MoMA and the art book store Kon-stig In Stockholm.

Annelie Nilsson