Index is based in the centre of Stockholm and offers an ambitious program of exhibitions, events and learning activities for a wide range of audiences. The program includes emerging artists with specifically produced new work, alongside presentations by artists from previous generations shown in a new perspective. Larger projects are accompanied by an extensive public program, often produced in collaboration with other organizations in Stockholm and abroad, with talks and film screenings, music, dance and poetry events. Index takes risks and opens up various ways to encounter contemporary culture and debate. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, Index is today one of the most important and longest-standing spaces for contemporary art in Scandinavia.
“One can hardly overestimate the importance of experimental institutions, which work more freely than major museums and commercial galleries. In Stockholm, Index is perhaps the most convincing example of such a platform for new generations of artists, both Swedish and international. Index presented a show by Eija-Liisa Ahtila long before she became a big name. The same is true for Wolfgang Tillmans and the duo Elmgreen/Dragset. Index also re-introduced artists that had great importance in previous decades and helped to retrieve their relevance, such as Sture Johannesson and J O Mallander. Index is, in short, a key institution for the Scandinavian art scene.” – Daniel Birnbaum, Moderna Museet
Assistant Curator (Learning),
Johanna Gustafsson Fürst (Chair), Tris Vonna-Michell (Vice-Chair), Mikael Karlsson (Treasurer), Henrik Andersson, Saskia Holmkvist, Fredrik Liew, Gunilla Thorgren
We accept applications for internships on an ongoing basis for students and young professionals. More information here. Other job advertisements at Index will be advertised on our website and newsletter.
The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation
T + 46 8 502 198 38
Wed / Thur / Fri 12:00–18:00
Sat / Sun 12:00–16:00
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Index’ unique gallery space is available for hires and events. More information here.
Prior to becoming Index—The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in 1998, Galleri Index was run by Fotograficentrum, a not-for-profit member association of Swedish photographers and other practitioners interested in “creating distribution channels for photography.” Established in 1974, Fotograficentrum comprised a series of regional branches across the country, some of which—Stockholm, Örebro, Göteborg, Malmö, and Luleå—managed independent spaces. As a national organization (Riks Fotograficentrum), its main goal was to promote and distribute information on photography as an artistic form with a pronounced engagement in sociopolitical and documentary issues. From the outset, the Stockholm branch of Fotograficentrum was located in the city center, on Malmskillnadsgatan 45. To become an active initiator of and influential participant in debates around the changing role of photography, in the mid-1980s Fotograficentrum expanded its activities. Beyond organizing exhibitions and running workshops and seminars, it operated as a sort of employment agency for its members, helping them become professionally active by way of producing new work to be exhibited either in its space or elsewhere. It also published the bimonthly journal Bildtidningen, which became an important forum for readers interested in Scandinavian and international debates on photography criticism and theory.
Toward the end of the decade, Fotograficentrum moved to a new venue on Sankt Paulsgatan 3, on the island of Södermalm. It was not until 1994 that the organization, at that point identifying its exhibition space as Galleri Index, began establishing itself as an internationally acclaimed art space and successful actor in Stockholm’s contemporary art scene. Conceived by an exhibition committee that included the then director Karina Ericsson Wärn, the program encompassed a wide-ranging and comprehensive view of contemporary art and was interested in “indexing theoretical thought.” It introduced emerging international artists to Scandinavia, many of them now renowned figures, such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Jonathan Monk, Aernout Mik, Stan Douglas, Eija-Liisa Athila, Kara Walker, Pierre Huyghe, Elmgreen & Dragset, and Rodney Graham, alongside a young generation of promising Swedish artists like Annika von Hausswolf, Fia Backström, and Maria Lindberg. Many of these artists, both Swedish and international, held one of their first exhibitions at Galleri Index.
In 1991, Bildtidningen was rethought and renamed Index—Contemporary Scandinavian Images. Together with the gallery that, as its publisher, shared offices with it until 1998, the magazine established a significant dialogue with the international art scene, thanks to a focus expanded from photography into other artistic practices, including film and video. With essays in both Swedish and English, it focused on contemporary art’s roots in photography, and on photography’s breakthrough in the 1990s across Scandinavian institutions. Sina Najafi (now editor in chief of New York–based Cabinet magazine) and the distinguished Swedish curator-critics Sara Arrhenius (now director of Stockholm’s Bonniers Konsthall) and Maria Lind (now director of Spånga’s Tensta konsthall) were, respectively, US correspondent, editor, and a member of an editorial team whose goal was to “establish long-term relationships with art and culture outside of Sweden,” a direction that continued into 1999, when the magazine merged with another Swedish art magazine, Siksi, to become the celebrated but short-lived NU—The Nordic Art Review.
In 2001, the Swedish curator Mats Stjernstedt became the foundation’s second director, and remained so until 2011. Furthering the legacy characterizing Index’s previous phases, this decade saw close collaborations with Index curator Helena Holmberg and invited curators including Anselm Franke, Rafi Segal, and Eyal Weizman, who presented the group exhibition Territories, Frontiers and the Architecture of Warfare in 2004. This collaborative approach helped define a heterogeneous program, as well as a curatorial process focused on optimizing the conditions around artistic production when commissioning new works. In 2005, the institution relocated to the island of Kungsholmen and its current address, Kungsbro Strand 17-19. The premises were inaugurated on June 7, 2006. Alongside the presentation of solo exhibitions by, among many others, Johanna Billing, Goldin+Senneby, Dora García, Deimantas Narkevicius, Harun Farocki, and Claire Fontaine, Index began staging exhibitions that reassessed historical work in relation to today’s contemporary art. It was in these years that Index played an important role in introducing to Sweden, and to Scandinavia overall, major practitioners such as Bas Jan Ader, VALIE EXPORT, Susan Hiller, Adrian Piper, Július Koller, and Mladen Stilinović.
This activity coincided with the realization of projects in partnership with other institutions (ex. Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kalmar Konstmuseum; Arnolfini—Centre for Contemporary Arts, Bristol; Trafó Gallery, Budapest; Tranzit.cz, Prague; Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdańsk), biennials (ex. the 2008 Dak’Art—Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, Dakar; Momentum 2006—The 4th Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art, Moss; the Periferic Biennial, Iasi), and magazines and publishing houses (ex. IDEA. Arts + Society, Cluj; OEI Editör, Stockholm; Paraguay Press, Paris; SITE magazine, Stockholm). Such intensification of partnerships confirmed Index as a hub for spreading information about the Swedish contemporary art scene to international arts professionals, supported by a strengthening of the foundation’s goal to introduce Swedish and Scandinavian audiences to the work of emerging Swedish and international artists.
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