Absolut Art Comes to Stockholm

Absolut was the first spirits brand to forge strong relationships with art and artists, starting in 1985 when they asked Andy Warhol to create the first of many iconic ad images inspired by the Absolut bottle. Absolut is still involved in the art world, and established a partnership with Art Basel in 2012. The company is also the originator of Art Bar – an art installation open for a couple of days, where artists show their work alongside a bar that serves limited edition cocktails inspired by the installation.

How has the idea for the show evolved?

– Many of our projects recently have dealt with utopia as a political and mythological concept. The term “utopia” was coined by Thomas More in the beginning of the 16th century and refers to an imagined non-place that exists only in our minds. We have looked at historical and mythological accounts that somehow describe something that doesn’t exist, but that could be. All historical and religious utopias include elements of problematic values and ideals, something we wanted to update to fit the current times and our personal beliefs.

What are you showing us?

– We have staged the legend of the Muisca people, but with a feminist and collectivist slant. In our paradise, we question borders and boundaries and who is included and excluded – in everything from national borders to socially coded spaces. In Nirvana, we look at moderation in relation to the greed of consumer society. These utopias are called “La Dorada”, “Eutopia” and “Raga” in our version.

Where does your inspiration come from?

– We share an office, so we are in constant dialogue about these kinds of issues, and that has brought us here. The theme is made even more relevant because 2014 is an election year. In the current situation, utopias are absent from the political debate. Politics is our source of inspiration and we want it to permeate everything we create. Visually, we have been inspired by the historical accounts we have encountered in our research, but also by the pop culture we interact with daily.

What are your backgrounds?

– By profession, we are graphic designers and illustrators, but our approach is informed by our backgrounds in art, writing, and choreography. We have worked with spatial representations and print design, both alone and together under the name 2typer.

What do you want to communicate with your art?

– We are interested in the alternatives that can be communicated and enabled through art. We examine these alternatives constantly, both in terms of the themes we select and our aesthetics.

What else do you have going on this year?

– We have received a project grant, and this fall we will begin our work with BILD-ning – a platform for collecting and examining methods of subversive graphic design and illustration. We also work continuously with commissions, right now creating a graphic profile and publication for “Settings – normkritiska möjligheter”. In May, there is a release for the book about Design Lab S, which Sepidar is currently at work writing and designing. Moa just received an award for best young book design, and will immerse herself in typography this spring.

Text: Madeleine Dahlström Photo: Clara Uddman