Helene Billgren “All Clear”

Liljevalchs’ major autumn exhibition is a survey of Helene Billgren’s work, spanning the drawings and objects of the 1980s and 1990s to the increasingly colour-intense paintings of the 2000s.

Wish and Hope 2, 2018. Foto: Galleri Magnus Karlsson

Wish and Hope 2, 2018. Foto: Galleri Magnus Karlsson

Opening on 11 October, the exhibition presents hundreds of works from Helene Billgren’s oeuvre. 

The recent expressive paintings are showcased in the large, middle galleries encompassed by earlier works, including objects, graphic works, drawings and installations. However, her current passion for painting occasionally transitions into new objects and installations. 

Liljevalchs presents a comprehensive survey of one of Sweden’s most indomitable and creative artists whose art practice is characterised by equal measures of playfulness, improvisation and seriousness. Her protagonists are almost always women, her material quotidian and she infuses everyday and old objects with new meaning. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, Mina 100 favoriter [My 100 Favourites], featuring 100 favourite works selected by the artist as well as two of her earlier texts. 

“With her treatment of colour, Helene Billgren demonstrates that she is one of the foremost painters in Sweden today: so fresh, beautiful, bold, fateful, yet always relaxed and visually intoxicating”, writes Mårten Castenfors, Director of Liljevalchs, in his foreword. 

Born in 1952 in Norrköping, Helene Billgren attended the Valand Academy in Gothenburg in 1982–87. She held her first solo exhibition at Galleri Rotor in Gothenburg in 1985 and in 1989 received her breakthrough with three exhibitions in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, in which the audience encountered works in charcoal and graphite of nurses, housewives, horse girls and girly women who playfully and seriously tried out different roles in everyday life. 

Billgren’s 2009 exhibition Free Kitten at Angelika Knäpper Gallery in Stockholm established her as a painter. Young women still featured but now in colour-saturated, dramatic or dreamlike landscapes. 

Another important component of Helene Billgren’s art is objects, which have been recycled and repurposed and given new meaning. 

Helene Billgren has also produced set designs and costumes for Sweden’s National Touring Theatre (Riksteatern), Sweden and Den Anden Opera in Copenhagen, among others.