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Performing History: Photography in Sweden 1970-2014


Niclas Östlind


Performing History: Photography in Sweden 1970–2014

Dissertation in Photography, Valand Academy, 2014


Using curatorial practice as a method, this thesis maps and investigates photography in Sweden 1970–2014. The study deepens the knowledge of photography mainly exhibited in institutions and/or having been organised by actors that define themselves as photographic. It also contributes to producing new knowledge of the relationship between photography and art, and of the ways in which various social, economic and political spaces (in a broad sense), where the audience has encountered photography, have affected the production, display and reception of photography.

It is an investigation of photography, with photography and through photography, where the exhibition practice functions as an optics that defines and sharpens the perspective, and partly as a method with which the results are tested and visualized. The exhibitions contain an active display of the material. They form spatial and temporal narratives, which show a distinctly self-reflective perspective explicitly stating that the history put forward is one of several possible narratives.

The thesis gives answers to questions regarding the type of photography that has been exhibited, where and how it has been shown, who have been the driving forces behind photography exhibitions and how these aspects have changed or remained the same over time. It also examines and answers questions about the institutional and sociological conditions for photographic exhibition practices, and thereby also about a central aspect of the photographic field.

The structure of the study is made up of different coordinated parts, which are devoted to different perspectives. The theoretical narration as a point of departure and the narrative interviews – that constitute an important part of the study – give space to include and to accentuate, the different actors and their historical stories. It also points to the various ways in which history, seen through the categories of history theory, has been used and what kind of historical narrative the thesis itself is an example of.

This is thesis no 46 in the ArtMonitor dissertation series.

ISBN: 978-91-981712-0-4 (Dissertation edition/Disputationsupplaga)


This dissertation is in Swedish.

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The dissertation is e-published in GUPEA - Gothenburg University Publications Electronic Archive. 

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