Ingrid Orfali, Moby Dick repasse, 1987. PhotoPrallan Allsten/Moderna Museet
Sleepless Nights
Feb 28, 2023 – Jan 14, 2024
Moderna Museet
Stockholm, Sweden

In the contradictory 1980s, several remarkable women artists emerged in Sweden and the Nordic region. Sleepless Nights revolves around them. The name of this exhibition was inspired by Teresa Wennberg’s large video installation Nuit Blanche (1983), incorporating 25 TV screens, a work that epitomizes how artists were exploring new media and materials.

The art market was red-hot, the alternative art scene rebelled, the fear of HIV and AIDS was rampant, and the Cold War was coming to an end. This pivotal point between the politicized 1970s and the artistically terser 1990s left its mark on the Moderna Museet collection.

In the exhibition Sleepless Nights, the curator Anna Tellgren focuses on Swedish and Nordic women artists who made their breakthrough in the 1980s but have not been shown that often in recent years.

“Attention has been rather fluctuating, and these artists have been a bit overlooked for various reasons. They include Ingrid Orfali, who went to Australia and moved on to other things, and Teresa Wennberg, who has always been at the cutting edge of technology but has worked mainly in France in recent decades.”

The exhibition introduces visitors to some 130 works by ground-breaking artists, including Barbro Bäckström, Cecilia Edefalk, Stina Ekman, Tuija Lindström, Eva Löfdahl and Ingrid Orfali. They are accompanied here by male colleagues such as Torsten Andersson and Max Book. International comparisons are made with works by some of the mega-stars of the period, including Daniel Buren, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol.