Erik Alkema  (NL)


Curator: Sofia Wickman (SE)

Opening: Friday 19 of April 17.00-21.00

Artist talk:
Sunday 21 April at 14.00

In his first Swedish solo-exhibition Erik Alkema presents a series of tapestries that portray spaces and interiors that witnessed him at his most vulnerable.

This project started as a means of self-care; a personal testimony to to the lonely experience of being seriously sick. From there it developed into a dialogue between various other spaces connected to fragile moments in his life; interiors that worked out to be eerily similar and interchangeable.

Within his work Alkema investigates the possibility of originality and authentic individualism.

He questions the stories we tell ourselves to create an (almost religious) truth about our own uniqueness and our ability to take the course of our lives into our own hands. Deep down he really wants this make-believe to be true, while simultaneously being fascinated by the human capacity for self-deception and the forces of conformity and power that tell a different story.

Following his cancer diagnosis and the long journey of treatments, complications and hospitalizations, Alkema found out how few tools, time and rituals are available for dealing with these kinds of experiences in our disenchanted society.

He decided to take charge of this traumatic ordeal by literally processing the hospital interiors that saw him at his most miserable, vulnerable and weak into tapestries. Alkema draws with fleece fabric on a sewing machine - softening both his experience and these cold and clinical spaces.

What is so confronting about being in the hospital, that it is so real. All masks go off when one is in pain. It is a noisy and shameless environment. Coming from the supposedly “real” world of charades, you cross a border into a parallel world where all, or at least most, pretense and privacy is gone. There is no place for keeping up appearances on this stage. With exception maybe, for some young doctors who are still struggling with their new white-coated authority.

The modernist architect Le Corbusier saw houses as machines for living in.

This rang true, being seriously ill and being gobbled up by the healthcare system - suddenly feeling imprisoned and without agency. Shattering the illusion of self-determination by becoming a peg in the workings and design of that machine.

For Alkema making tapestries is a way of taking back control over the narrative. He weaves stories in an attempt to liberate himself, to create at least some sort of illusion of freedom by becoming the ghost in the machine instead.

Erik Alkema is an Amsterdam based artist. He works with textile. Mostly and exclusively with fleece fabric. Coming from making (big) soft sculptures and costumes, he in recent years developed his own technique of tapestry making. In which he "draws" with fleece fabric on a sewing machine.

His work has been seen in exhibitions in the Netherlands and all over Europe. Next to his autonomous work, Alkema is theatre maker and initiator of social artistic theatre- and film projects. After being seriously sick for the past couple of years, it's finally possible for Alkema to step back into the world to show the new tapestry works that he has been making during his illness.

Sofia Wickman (b. 1978) is a creative producer, curator, and artist based in Malmö and Copenhagen. She works as Creative Producer at MYKA, Producer at NORDLYS Collective,  Producer at Alma Söderberg Studio and Curator at Galleri CC. Wickman has curated at Galleri CC in Malmö since 2015, emphasizing spatial and sculptural cross-disciplinary work. Additionally, she is an artist primarily focusing on photography and video, often incorporating light and installations. Wickman holds a BA in Audio Visual Media from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, earned in 2012.