Cecilia Parsberg, Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Arts in Visual Arts, Lund University and Umeå University. I live in Stockholm. From 1:st of February, 2018, I am appointed Senior lecturer in Visual Arts with emphasis on Visual Arts Education at the Department of Artistic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Karlstad University.
Current shows are “A Place in Europe”– a touring public artwork https://aplaceineurope.com, and “The Chorus of Begging and The Chorus of Giving” – an installation in the Swedish Arts Grants Committee project Choreographies of the Social in Stockholm. Her latest published essays are ”We are losers and you have to learn from us” included in the international and interdisciplinary anthology Heritage and Borders published in September 2019, by the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, in collaboration with the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, and the essay ”Voices” in the anthology Can a Person be Illegal? Refugees, Migrants and Citizenship in Europe, published by Uppsala University (2017). Further see archive of works at https://ceciliaparsberg.se
I am currently working on the postdoctoral research project A place in Europe (with support by Kulturbryggan, The Swedish Arts Grants Committeé, Birgit and Gad Rausings Stiftelse för Humanistisk forskning, Stockholm City, Liljevalchs. The project was peer reviewed and internationally hosted by Project Anywhere: art at the outermost limits of location-specificity, throughout 2017. The short film on the filmic sculpture has been sceened on cinemas in Sweden organized by Swedish Film Institute, Swedish Television (YT channel) and Folkets Bio. Synopsis: In an undisclosed place in central Stockholm a sort of state of exception seems to be in effect. During night time job seekers from different parts of the world live here. Daytime they share the place with workers, building the new Stockholm. Watch the film. (english subtitles)
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. 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, often including a panel debate with local politicians and activists, as upcoming 20th of September, 2019 in Karlstad (org by Karlstad university, Karlstad City and Konstfrämjandet Värmland). 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.
Doctoral dissertation How do you become a successful beggar in Sweden? An inquiry into the images of begging and giving in Sweden 2011-2016. The doctoral thesis, consisting of nine text chapters and six staged works in Swedish and English, is digitally published on www.beggingandgiving.se . (it is layouted as an e-book with moving image and sound..)
The doctoral dissertation was defended at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, on14th of November 2016 at 11-13am. Faculty opponent was 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.
During the 90s, my work was about body and identity expressed in painting, video and performance. During my time as Guest Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå University 1999-2002, I was also engaged as visiting Professor at Fine Arts, Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. As part of the teaching I initiated student exchange projects with Soweto. I also made five staged works during this time. Since 2000 I left the art-market context because of the political and ethical content of the works.
”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.
The most popular of the staged works 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 I was invited to commute to Palestinian occupied territories. On September 28, 2000, the second Intifada started. Me and a colleague, the writer Ana Valdés were 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 I shared a room in Gaza with Rachel Corrie – in the house of Allahouani – a week before Rachel died of a bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza Strip, and I 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.