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Doubts and Hopes:
A Conversation with Kent Karlsson

by Robert Such


Dreams, memories, politics, history, and religion inform the work of Kent Karlsson. The Swedish artist incorporates everyday objects and iconic images into sculptures created through an exploration and refinement of his own poetic visual language. Karlsson works out of his hometown studio in Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden. Over the years, he has created public and privately commissioned works in urban and landscape contexts and shown his work at exhibitions at home and abroad. During the ’90s, he lectured as a professor of fine arts at the Valand Academy of Fine Arts, where he had studied 10 years before, and as a guest professor at Japan’s Tokai University.

Among Karlsson’s notable public sculptures is Temple of Doubt and Hope near Gothenburg’s ferry port. Commissioned by the municipal developer of the Lindholmen Science Park, a university and business development area, and a nearby residential district, the church-like metal sculpture floats in an inlet in the former Lindholmen shipyard. Like a ship at anchor, the perforated stainless steel structure drifts in circles, pushed around by the wind. As solid looking as nearby buildings one moment, the sculpture appears transparent moments later, pirouetting slowly against the surrounding backdrop of ships, buildings, and natural landscape.

Mirage, 1998.
Mirror glass, wood, and steel, 8.5 x 4 x 6 meters.

Image: Mats Ringqvist


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