Image Zone:Back to the changing European welfare society in the 1970s
Date: June 23, 2019. 14:00-17:00
Host: Wang Kaimei
Guest: Jiang Jun
Venue: Multi-Media Room, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
“The youth is sweet yet melancholy, while the adult world is filled with disappointment and misery.”
In June, summer time begins in the Nordic continent, with the adolescent desire evolving in a quiet way. During the 1970s, the Swedish welfare society was facing the turbulent transformation. The Sweden Social Democratic Party shaped the goal of folkhemmet (“people’s home”) in the 1920s, determined to establish a cradle to grave welfare state, taking a “third path” other than capitalism and socialism. The western political storm and changing policy occurring from the 1960s to 1970s started the transformation of Sweden. With the European economy recovering and developing after the WWII, the baby boomers grew to be the solid middle class of Europe. However, no matter how well the society updates, with our consumption upgraded, individualism strengthened, generational gaps enlarged, human being can never escape the eternal lonesome, so the adolescent and the middle aged are both living in their own confusion. All these elements composed a 1970s European panoramic society view that was lingering between hope and despair.
In 1970s, A Swedish Love Story, the first film directed by 26-year-old Swedish director Roy Anderson was premiered. The film revolves around a teenage romance, yet panoramically presents the specific social occurrence of the western welfare state, including the lives of the people of different class. The film made it to the Golden Berlin Bear nominee, and made the main characters entitled the “youngest couple in the film history of the world.” It also made Roy Anderson a film master. Roy Anderson is now 76. Engaged in the film industry for over 40 years, he has only made 5 length films. None would argue that auteurist director Wes Anderson doesn’t have a unique visual palette — with his signature center-framed compositions, varied aspect ratios, and striking mise-en-scène that all create a tableau vivant. His films, while always artistically compelling and often leaning toward the absurd, take aim at everything from petty bourgeois self-satisfaction and the corruption of the social democratic welfare state to World War II, consumerism, and notions of national solidarity. No subject is too big or too small, and nothing is off limits—and this clear-eyed courage has often put him at odds with society’s tastemakers. His A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, a winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is the finale of his three features that observe what make us human. It is safe to say that Anderson’s understanding of lonesome began in this 1970s film A Swedish Love Story.
Jiang Jun, a young scholar, recently put his studying focus on the art output during the social and political turbulence of 1960s-1970s Europe, and tries to look up how new-middle class multiply their consumption mode and aesthetic taste. The 1960s and 1970s’ western social revolution, including the May 1968 events in France and the hippie movement in America have made great impact on how today’s capital society understand the world. Such revolution also influenced the art. The film A Swedish Love Story is undoubtedly an on-site respond to this theory.
In this time of the Swedish summer, Beyond Frozen Point Film Festival and Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum co-organize a film screening for A Swedish Love Story. The event sets the topic of “Back to the changing European welfare society in the 1970s,” and tries to discuss the youth of different generations, middle-aged crisis, and social changes. What kind of social cultural genes have the influential years left for today is to be analyze during the event.
Kaimei Olsson Wang is an independent film and art curator based in Shanghai. She is the founder of the Beyond Frozen Point film festival that has been running its second edition this year. Through her connection with Sweden and deep understanding of the Nordic culture, her curatorial practices extend to many collaborations with Nordic artists and filmmakers. She is also an art writer and contributor for many art magazines in China.
Jiang Jun, an artist and art critic who graduated from Kunstakademie Münster receiving the title Meisterschüler of Prof. Aernout Mik, a reseacher at the theoretical studio of Shanghai Public Art Cooperation Center (PACC) and the International Public Art Association (IPA), and one of the founders of the Art Bureau of Investigation. He is currently a PhD candidate of iconology and exhibition culture studies at China Academy of Art and Peking University, and lives and works in Hangzhou and Shanghai.
Image Zone is a long-term non-profit program that supports image and video art screening, research, and communication organized by the Public Education Department of Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. This program will be screening films, cartoons, video art of various categories, regions, themes, and will be organizing workshops and seminars from time to time. This program is determined to unite artists, researchers, and the public, to co-construct an image and video archive that extends in multiple fields. Through these events, the program tries to provide a solid foundation for contemporary image and video art creation, theoretical researches, and social promotion.