Mamma Andersson was born in 1962 in northern Sweden in a sparsely populated, rural area called Lulea. She has been living and working in Stockholm since attending the Royal University College of Fine Arts from 1986-93. Andersson’s international breakthrough began with her selection as Sweden’s representative at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) with a solo exhibition, Devil May Care. In 2006, David Zwirner Gallery in New York devoted a solo show to her work titled, Rooms Under the Influence. “Her paintings tell a story, but they don’t reveal. You enter in, but there is no beginning, no middle and no end. The viewer creates their own narrative. There is something deeply psychological in her portrayal of landscapes and people,” David Zwirner said. Later that year Andersson won the prestigious Carnegie Art Award for Nordic painting and was given a solo show, The Undiscovered Country, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
“My style follows a very Nordic painting tradition: landscapes, interiors, relationships, and dramas. I am very much inspired by theater and film,” said Anderson in a 2007 Women’s Wear Daily Scoop article titled “Red Hot Mamma.” She says the stage-like space created in her paintings, “is absurd but you buy into it, because it’s life in a distilled form.” Andersson’s composition style has been compared to playwright Harold Pinter for whom she was commissioned to create a picture accompanying the certificate for his Nobel Prize for Literature. Andersson’s artistic plot is influenced by fables, myths, pop music, and art history. Her desolate landscapes, foreboding sense of calamity, and introspective figures relate to the drama in paintings by Munch, Van Gogh and Hopper.
In 2007, Mamma Andersson was the subject of a mid-career exhibition organized by the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, traveling to the Hesingfors Konstall, Helsinki, Finland and the Camden Arts Centre, London. In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Kim Levin writes about Andersson’s paintings, “Their disruptions of time and space, inversions of interior and exterior, and combinations of persistent memory and blank amnesia created a permeable membrane between life and art. They were weird, sure of themselves, and absolutely disaffected.”
Andersson was invited to Crown Point Press in 2008 where she created three color etchings whose interior and exterior scenes offer portals to a mysterious reality. The exhibition, Setting the Scene, (2009) featured her first print project at Crown Point Press. In 2010, she returned to Crown Point Press with her husband, artist Jockum Nordström, when they collaborated on six etchings that comprise a portfolio, and she returned again in 2013 to make three large color aquatints.
Other exhibitions include Memory Banks, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (2018-19); Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (2011); Officescapes, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden (2008); Essential Painting, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2006) and the 15th Biennale of Sydney: Zones of Contact, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2006). In 2018 Andersson received the Drawing Prize presented by the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation. In 2010 she had her first solo museum show in the U.S., at Aspen Art Museum, Colorado.
Her work is held in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Mamma Andersson is represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm; the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; and David Zwirner Gallery, New York. She currently lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.
-Dana Zullo, Crown Point Press
Mamma Andersson at Crown Point Press, 2013 (8 minutes)
Mamma Andersson works on four etchings in the Crown Point Press studio, 2013.
Mamma Andersson at Crown Point Press, 2009 (4 minutes)
Artist Mamma Andersson describes working at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, 2009.
Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordstrom at Crown Point Press, 2010 (6 minutes)
Artists Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordstrom describe working collaboratively at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, 2010.