Stockholm gallery opens ‘Wag the Dog’ exhibition

A multimedia exhibition by Armenian artist Azat Sargsyan on the perception of reality presented by the mass media, marks the start of the spring season at Stockholm art gallery wip:sthlm.

Stockholm gallery opens 'Wag the Dog' exhibition

In Make History for a Pink Future, Azat Sargsyan, a visual artist based in both Yerevan and Stockholm, explores the ways reality can be tweaked and manipulated in order to suit purposes beyond the public awareness.

The multimedia montage exhibition takes as its starting point the American film Wag the Dog that premiered in 1997 just a month before the Monica Lewinsky scandal hit the mainstream news and presented an uncanny link between fiction and reality.

Wag The Dog tells the story of a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer trying to save the president, who is alleged to have had a sexual affair. In order to steer the public’s attention away from the factual events, a war is created in Albania.

The artist, who has spent the winter in residence at the gallery, uses news clips, hyperlinks, texts, photos and video footage to fuse the real with the imaginary and challenges the perception of reality as presented through the lens of mass media.

Azat Sargsyan is the co-founder and artistic director of the Gyumri Biennial that was initiated in 1998 and will open its seventh edition this autumn. He has exhibited at the 1997 Venice Biennial, the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennial, and in 1999 at the After The Wall exhibition at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Recent exhibitions include the Thessaloniki Biennale, the Moscow Biennale and the Cerveria Biennale in Portugal.

Wip:sthlm [work in progress] is a collaboration between 96 artists based in Årstaberg, Stockholm. Since its inception in 2006 wip:sthlm has developed four core activities: artists’ studios, gallery, artist-in-residence programme and a bookshop.

The Make History for a Pink Future exhibition runs until Saturday March 13th and is the first of a series of events taking place during the spring.

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Ten historic pictures that show what life was like in Stockholm decades ago

These historic images shed some light on the lives of Stockholmers decades ago.

Ten historic pictures that show what life was like in Stockholm decades ago
Swedes enjoying Midsummer's Eve at Slussen in 1940. Photo: Bertil Norberg/TT

1. Facing the winter

This picture captures two men clearing the snow off Strandvägen in central Stockholm during the war winter of 1939. Snow then, snow now; it's just as annoying.

Photo: Reportagefoto/TT

2. Children of the old school

A physical education class in the Stockholm suburb of Djursholm back in 1907.

Photo: Scanpix

3. Subway breakdown

Underground passengers make their way through the dark tunnels in Stockholm to get out at Hötorget metro station after a power failure on the 27th of December 1983.

Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

4. Going to the cinema

Fortunately the cinema chairs are a bit more comfortable than in 1938. This is the cinema Draken at Fridhemsplan on the Kungsholmen island of Stockholm.

Photo: Pressen bild/TT

5. Preparing the dinner

The kitchen in a newly built apartment in the Holmia area of Kungsholmen (Lindhagensgatan today). These apartments were built for the working classes in the early 1900s and were torn down in the 60s and 70s.

Photo: Pressens bild/TT

6. Alcohol shopping

Here you see a cashier filling in the ration book (motboken) when a customer buys alcoholic drinks at Systembolaget in Stockholm in 1939. Swedes were only allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcoholic beverages per person from 1917 to 1955, a measure to reduce the high alcohol consumption in the country.

Photo: PrB/TT

7. The famous Stockholm mushroom

Posh clubbing district Stureplan has always been a popular meeting place. In this picture taken in 1951 people were just dancing in the street under the Svampen (mushroom) statue at Stureplan.

Photo: TT

8. Going to the open-air market 

This picture of a crowded open-air market at Riddarhuset along the Riddarholm Canal in Stockholm is more than a century old (1900). 

Photo: TT

9. Waiting patiently sitting on dad's back

This picture was taken in the central train station of Stockholm in 1968 and shows a dad and his baby waiting for the mother. Apart from the old-style baby carrier and the clothes this scene hasn't changed much.

Photo: SVD/TT

10. The beginning of camping

Here is a family enjoying a meal together at Lake Flaten, south of Stockholm, in 1929. 

Photo: TT