”Witches and whores become human”. Thus reads the headline of one of the articles published about my very first exhibition in 2015. “Ur Minnet” was a discovery of the genre of archive art, which in large part consisted of hours upon hours deep in the archives, searching through witch trial protocols and police documents. I was looking to get to know these displaced women whom history only knew as witches, prostitutes, and beggars. In collaboration with Malmö city archives and Malmö Stad, I was able to present a collection of portraits depicting these women of the city’s past dating back to the 1600s. The collection is now preserved in Julia Pivén’s Collection at Malmö city archives.
Another art form I explored in the beginning was body art. However, it was less of an art project and more an almost primal urge for self expression which exceeded the limits of makeup and canvas.
Since then, I’ve been lucky to attend Gothenburg School of Art, which is where the “spark” happened; as students we were made to abandon acrylics and try our hand at oil painting. A whole new world opened. The depth of the medium, the pigments, the ways of application and behaviour of the paint completely captured me. I came to expand from my darker portraits, venturing into abstract colour scapes, such as the piece “In search for I”, spanning 250x180cm. Colour mixing and mixed media experimentation made new worlds possible, such as in “If only I had danced” wherein I mixed textures, oil and my beloved pastels.
I’ve also participated in the EU artist exchange during which I spent three months in Berlin. There, I learned about leather work, sustainable art, what life as a practising artist can be like, and so much more.
A further example of projects submitted in this application is Vow 2019, a suicide prevention artwork produced around new year’s along with over a hundred participants who all supported the cause and vowed to continue on throughout the year of 2019. The piece includes their names along with quotes of, and odes to, many individuals who where lost to suicide over the years.
I served as chairperson and organiser for the national art association Avgrunden. This gave me invaluable experiences collaborating with other artists and publications, as we organised numerous art shows and learning exchanges throughout Sweden.
I’ve only just begun to realise the possibilities of art as an intermediary with the surrounding world. I’m excited to learn what more lies hidden in the paint.
Julia Pivén - Swedish artist, model, organiser and DJ.
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