Cecilia Parsberg, Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Arts in Visual Arts, Lund University and Umeå University. I live and work in Stockholm. I am currently working on the postdoctoral research project A place in Europe with support från Kulturbryggan and from Birgit and Gad Rausings Stiftelse för Humanistisk forskning. The project has been peer reviewed by and accepted for international hosting by Project Anywhere: art at the outermost limits of location-specificity, http://projectanywhere.net/ througout 2017.
My work is contextually situated, relational, performative, politically informed, and articulate an artistic view on challenges that are also existential, political and aesthetic. A form of participatory performance is involved in the production process one way or another – and aims to generate images to be presented to an audience. During my time in South Africa 2000-2002 as well as in the following four years in the Middle East I used mostly the Hasselblad Xpan (panoramic), and made a number of photographic works. http://ceciliaparsberg.se/how-do-you-become-a-successful-beggar-in-sweden/. My doctoral dissertation ”How do you become a successful beggar in Sweden?” An inquiry into the images of begging and giving in Sweden 2011-2016, consists of nine text chapters and six staged works. It is layouted as an e-book with moving image and sound.
My projects are for the most part clearly situated in time and space and developed in relation to the public debate, my investigations have also demanded a public space for the presentations. I present most of my works as exhibitions in public art spaces, last year I had four separate exhibitions, all of them included a panel debate with local politicians and activists. I arrange street-screenings and I improvise workshops. I work with blogs, social media, radio, sometimes TV, I write articles in newspapers and publish in magazines.
Currently I am also running a post-research project A place in Europe.
It is a continuation of the last chapter in my dissertation, it includes a series of photographs, an essay and The House — a mobile cinematic sculpture temporarily installed in public places.
The doctoral dissertation was defended at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, on14th of November 2016 at 11-13am. Faculty opponent Professor Stefan Jonsson. Examination committee: Choreographer Cristina Caprioli, Rector Maria Lantz, Professor Erling Björgvinsson. In the framework of the cooperation agreement between the Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, Lund University, and Umeå Academy of Fine Arts regarding doctoral education in the subject Fine Arts. The title of her doctoral dissertation in Fine Arts is How do You Become a Successful Beggar in Sweden? An inquiry into the images of begging and giving 2011 to 2016. The doctoral thesis, consisting of nine text chapters and six staged works in Swedish and English, is digitally published on www.beggingandgiving.se
During the 90s, she worked with body and identity expressed in painting, video and performance. As Guest Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå University 1999-2002, she went four periods as visiting Professor to work at Fine Arts, Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. As part of the teaching she initiated student exchange projects with Soweto. She also made five staged works during this time.
”Five Actions” in South Africa and eight projects in Palestine and Israel have shaped my view of art and its meaning. We tell our stories because we want to tell them, because the situation, rather than our position, demands it. I began seeing my job as “developing” these images through various practices, and then activating the images, mediating them. I don’t own them and I can’t sell them unless we have an agreement. I ended up with a series of works that declared the social and political context in which they were created.
2000 she left her gallery in Stockholm because her art practice did not fit in the art-market-context and started working independently. The most popular of the staged works she made in SA are: The World’s Smallest Bible Thrown In The Biggest Man-Made Hole and To all Queens. Towards the end of three years of commuting to South Africa, she was invited to commute to Palestinian occupied territories. On September 28, 2000, the second Intifada started. She and her colleague, the writer Ana Valdés was evacuated, but soon returned and launched a series of joint cultural projects. In 2002, on Jenin Camp, West Bank. Documented research on the Israeli wall. She made a reportage for KOBRA, SVT about the art on the wall, an essay in Glänta as well as published in Swedish and English on Eurozine.com. In the spring 2003 she shared the room with Rachel Corrie – in the house of Allahouani – a week before Rachel died of a bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza Strip, and she made a film on the situation. See documentation. In 2004, she worked for six months in Rinkeby, Sweden, in the project 4U! with What question would you ask someone who is more powerful than you?
The film A heart from Jenin is about Ahmed, a Palestinian boy who lived in the Jenin refugee camp, on the West Bank. In November 2005 he was shot to death by an Israeli sniper. He was 12 years old. His parents decided to donate his heart to the other side of the wall, to Israel. A gift can effect change when there is someone on the other side willing to accept it. Samah is the name of the Israeli girl who now lives with Ahmed’s heart. For Ahmed’s parents their son lives on through the girl as a hope for peace with Israel.