Family: Two adult sons and the Italian water dog Rio
Lives: Stockholm, Gotland
Career: Has worked with art, books and music since the late 1980s and exhibited in museums all over the world. Also creates children’s books, most recently “All year round”.
His art is represented at, among others, Moma, Center George Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art, Stedelijk Museum and Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Next project: “I’m playing some music now but I don’t know where it’s going. But the main thing I’m working on is a new children’s book. I’m going to exhibit in Jaffa too, I’ve never been to Israel but Magasin III has a exhibition there. They have a lot of my work but I’m almost convinced that I want to do something new.”
— If someone removes a coin from this, it falls, says Jockum Nordström next to one of his new mobile sculptures, which seem to defy the law of gravity.
Thin steel wires spin on matchboxes and small pieces of collage, to the notes of Italian trumpet music from the 16th century. Jockum Nordström notes with satisfaction that humor arises in the meeting of the swaying construction with the music, and shows another of the new sculptures: there a coin hits an old sake bottle and a bicycle bell, after which a modest “pling” rings out in Liljevalch’s great hall.
Ten sculptures are featured in the new exhibition “No Paper, No Coins”, which opens on January 27. All are created from materials that were in Nordström’s studio.
— I had old steel hangers, motors, steel wire and tape, so I played with this. Sometimes the sculptures fell and then I had coins in a bowl, which I put on so they wouldn’t fall. All of a sudden I thought the sketches were beautiful in themselves, so then they became the works, he explains.
Sketchy main furrow
A total of sixty works are included, and Jockum Nordström emphasizes that they have not been shown in Sweden before. His art is exhibited all over the world, but it was a full 18 years since he had an exhibition at a major institution in his hometown – then at the Moderna Museet.
“I think it’s quite adequate,” he says unassumingly.
Jockum Nordström knew one thing for sure: he wanted to focus on drawing now. Almost all the works are also created in the last two, three years, which means that he has been lying in.
— I have done a lot in a short time. It also happens when it’s sketchy and playful — or that’s the wrong word — it’s very serious and precise too, but it’s a sketchy main groove and then it becomes a lot. You are not satisfied with sketching a sculpture, then you want four, five that talk to each other.
The drawings come from three different intensive creative periods in recent years. Jockum Nordström has been drawing since childhood and it is something he always longs for. Actually, it is both more private, more physical and more demanding for him than painting and collage. The drawing periods require an intense presence in the present.
— Drawing is confined and inside the head, it’s like sitting and practicing a violin even though everything goes to hell and sounds really bad. But for me the drawings are a prerequisite for me to be able to do the other, he says.
Drawn to nature
The drawings contain a lot of personal stories that only he himself sees. At the same time, there is an abstract side to his art, which has become more prominent in the last ten years. Partly it has to do with age, he believes. It also goes hand in hand with a greater interest in nature. Jockum Nordström shows how he has picked small oak shoots on Gotland, and was inspired by strawberry leaves.
— I have always loved nature. I grew up in Farsta and people went out with kindergarten and looked at anthills. It was then that life began, he exclaims and continues:
“I’ve always found some kind of comfort in nature, it’s fantastic as it is and always extremely beautiful, even if you just look at something like this,” he says, fingering a withered wedding veil in a vase on the art gallery manager Mårten Castenfor’s table.
Jockum Nordström talks about two paths: some artists are drawn more towards relationships and politics, while on the contrary he seeks nature and solitude. Without evaluating what is best, he says that when everyone makes political art, it “often turns out to be an awful lot of crap art.”
TT: Nan Goldin recently said that the only thing she photographs now is the sky.
— It’s the same thing. And I’ve become so obsessed, now I have a dog and have been going out so much at night looking at the stars so I’ve learned a lot about them. I get a lot of comfort in the fact that we humans are small and stupid in the head and exist somewhere that no one else has a clue about.
Celebrating the inconspicuous
As in the monument Jockum Nordström recently made, “Triumph Arch for the Lame”, he celebrates the inconspicuous in this exhibition. Actually, he always has.
— Drawing is just paper and a pencil. It’s very simple. There is a poetry in the simple and a lot to explore there that people don’t always do, he says.
He can’t do without humor either.
— For me, humor has to do with intellectual thinking. When there is a lack of humor then I get scared.