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MFA Student Interview Series, part III: Carin Alegre Castegren and My Sjöberg

Blue background with black text

Carin Alegre Castegren

When entering the lower gallery (KHM1) of Malmö Art Academy to see the MFA exhibition entitled “Tremeluz” by Carin Maria Alegre Castegren, I was met by numerous paintings, which all seemed to be in a state of flux. They had a lightness to them, an openness as well as something allusive. When reading the exhibition text, it was clear that Castegren had been thinking of light in particular, as the text read:

“Tremeluz (a Portuguese verb which means. to shine with a flickering light) is an exhibition about that which is becoming -- where paintings are in the stage of forming and re-forming themselves. It is an exhibition that touches upon the invisible that escapes us, and explores how it can be drawn out in the process of painting.”     

How has the process been of creating this exhibition?     
I see it as if it was divided into two parts. When doing the paintings themselves I wasn’t thinking about the exhibition space. When I had done the paintings, it then became about trying to create a logic and coherence in the exhibition room that could mediate the paintings character and relationships to each other.     

The installation process was fun and surprised me in many ways. Working with a model of the space helped me process certain things before I arrived in the space. I also tried to play with lines of vision. Since the gallery room in KHM1 has a divided and labyrinthic nature I could work with revealing and concealing the works at certain angles.  

Another thing I do in my practice is to repeat certain forms in the paintings. By placing the paintings next to each other it was as if the repetition enhanced the thought, extending it.      

I also knew that I wanted to activate the exhibition space in some way. After talking with my tutor, we came to the conclusion that the best way to do it would be through painting the pillars. To paint a wall would be to enhance a specific painting, which wouldn’t fit this context. I also worked with only painting certain parts of the pillars, concealing and revealing them from the viewer at certain angles in the room. Painting them yellow was a way to play with the natural light, inviting it into the room. I painted them with a brush and diluted the paint with a lot of water, so it became almost the consistency of watercolor. I think the fluidity of the color added a shimmering quality which conversed with the paintings.     

What has been your inspiration?     
For me that is a hard question to answer, because that goes into a bigger question: why I paint. My interest comes from what happens in dialogue with the medium, and I wanted my exhibition to convey a way of thinking through painting.   

Even though it’s hard to pinpoint the source exactly, I do have some recurring thoughts that I’m drawn to. I’m interested in portraying something that is coming into being, in transformation, in a state of becoming. The painting is then caught at a special moment – being fixed and in movement at the same time.      


Painting originates from a place that is partly unknown even for myself, acting as a meeting point between an inner and outer world. It is a way to access other modes of thinking, than stem from a word-less place.      

How have you dived into creating paintings, which in themselves are each finished yet still are so vibrant which invisible reforming, as you yourself describe it?     
I’m very happy you describe the paintings as “finished yet vibrant”, since it’s something I aim to achieve. My paintings are a result of a very organic process which happens in the studio. One work leads to another, and I go back and forth in a fluid dialogue with a lot of editing and alterations made along the way. I let the traces of that dialogue accumulate on the surface and integrate into the painting.      

For me a painting is finished when it reaches a very special state – a fragile state – when it is balancing on a limit, on the verge of transforming into something else or dissipating. I’m interested in achieving this spot since I see it as a stage where the painting is communicating while still being open, leaving space for the viewer. I think for me finding that moment is a very intuitive process, that requires attention and listening to what the painting needs. My hand and the material lead the way forward interconnectedly.


Carin Alegre Castegren's exhibition was displayed at Malmö Art Gallery (KHM1) March 1st - March 16th 2024. 

Interview by Karin Hald.

My Sjöberg

In the upper gallery (KHM2) at Malmo Art Academy, I entered the MFA exhibition “No Obvious Connection” by My Sjöberg. The room was dimly lit, my eyes caught sight of a large blackberry bush placed in the middle of the first room, which seemed to be living a life of its own and which lead me further on to a video installation “Real, austere, and as salty as the sea” in the back room, showing a video work centered around a tropical beach in Helsingborg.


What has the process been like creating your MFA exhibition?     
It is a process that has been growing for a long time, yet I have worked quite intuitively. My practice is split between filmmaking and sculpture, for me these two mediums employ different strategies, like I’m trying to enter a question or a problem from opposite sides, simultaneously.       

Sculpture making is an intuitive response. You have to listen to the material that you are working with. They help me tune into the place where I’m at, because I often gather material on walks through the city. For this project I have followed wild clematis and blackberry bushes into the spaces where they grow: the thicket, the slopes, the industrial lots. They inhabit a border where organized space dissolves into disorder. Through collecting and arranging I get to know the plants that I work with. They guide me as I manipulate them. Working with plants has been a constant experimentation. I am interested in finding out what stories they carry.    


The film on the other hand is a project I have been wanting to do for 10 years. I grew up in Helsingborg where it's set around a constructed Tropical Beach. I have been aware of it since my childhood, but of course not looked at it from a critical point of view. As I returned after several years abroad, I got struck by its absurdity, with its palm trees that don’t really fit in. Now, I finally had the opportunity to make the film I had thought about for a long time.    

The experience you have of turning your gaze upon something and letting it grow from there, how would you describe it?
For me it’s not so much about inspiration, rather it’s about friction. Often my interest originates from the experience of: Here is something I don’t understand. The questions are there from the beginning and come from a feeling of something being out of place. The sensation that I don’t understand something leads me to, as you say, turn my gaze upon it, because I feel I need to know more.     

Attentive walking has become very important to me. To see how materials meet, coiling plants are an endless source for this, how one plant takes over from another. These elements, along with our movements, are the choreography of the everyday city that can reveal the conditions of a particular place.     

What questions has these works and the exhibition brought up for you that you take with you further into your practice?     
I have become aware of how interested I am in disorder and the messiness of things. Categorizing and ordering is to contain, of course as a means to make something more comprehensible. When I make art, it is easy to fall into a practice of ordering, the question is how to do it effectively and still being able to break habitual patterns. I want to embrace messiness and chaos more. The blackberry bush that is placed at the exhibition's central focal point is an illustration of this. It reaches in all directions. It takes up unwanted space. The plants I use, in observing how they grow show a kind of negotiation of space, between our desire to control and their disruptive force. This is an important point to make in relation to the climate crisis, that one could say is an unbalanced negotiation of space.


My Sjöberg's exhibition was displayed at Malmö Art Gallery (KHM2) March 1st - March 16th 2024. 

Interview by Karin Hald.

Exhibition photos

Tremeluz, by Carin Alegre Castegren

gallery photo with a yellow painted pillar. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

Yellow painting. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

The edge of a painting painted in red. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

Painting with peach colored squares. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

Gallery with yellow wall and a red painting on the wall. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A painting in different brown colors. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A gray painting. Photo.

Tremeluz by Carin Alegre Castegren. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

No Obvious Connection, by My Sjöberg

Gallery with a bush and a bed like instillation in the corner. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A flat but rounded installation covered in a moss type material. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

Twigs ina squared pattern connected by silver metal. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A moss type material covering the base of a lamp pole. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A tv screen depicting a beach in Trelleborg. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A moss material. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.

A bed like structure covered in moss. Photo.

No Obvious Connection by My Sjöberg. Photo: Youngjae Lih.