This monograph documents a research on an abandonned site of the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). For his investigation,
artist Henrik Andersson relied on various public archives as well as on
the FOI's astonishing art collection.
Henrik Andersson's monograph publication Participant
Observers developed out of a solo exhibition he made at
Marabouparken konsthall. The show and this subsequent publication
addresses the presence and history of the Swedish defense science
facilities, which closed in 2005.
“A wooded area the size of a small nature reserve south of Järvafältet in
northern Sundbyberg, Ursvik, was until recently the location of the
Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). From 1930 onwards, a branch line of
the Northern Main Line carried shipments of ammunition into a large rock
shelter. The area contained shooting ranges, administration offices and
depots, and, most importantly, high level research was conducted there.
The research included everything from the development of Swedish nuclear
weapons to medical research into surgical methods of treating crush
injuries. The activities were top secret and what really went on behind
the fence remains shrouded in mystery.
In the early 1960s, public support for the Swedish nuclear programme waned
and in 1961 the first protest march against the atomic bomb in Sweden went
to Ursvik. Pictures from the march are preserved in the Museum of
Sundbyberg. The Swedish Defence premises in Ursvik also housed something
else, an art collection, which was primarily acquired by the Public Art
Agency Sweden. An art collection at a secret location—what was it doing
Published following the eponymous exhibition at Marabouparken Konsthall,
Sundbyberg, Sweden, from May 13 to September 27, 2015.
Henrik Andersson (born 1973 in Gothenburg, lives and works in Stockholm)
studied Fine Art and Curating at Konstfack, the University College of
Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm. He has exhibited at, among others,
Moderna Museet, Index and the Tirana Biennial in Albania. From 2013–2014
he worked with Asger Jorn's photographic archive in the project Museum
Jorn that was exhibited at the Baltic Art Center in Visby. He is a member
of the editorial board of the journal Paletten and
has previously worked as a curator at Röda Sten Konsthall and taught at
the School of Photography in Gothenburg.