© Annika von Hausswolff, Untitled, 2006

© Annika von Hausswolff, Back to Nature, 1993

“In her next work, Back to Nature (1993), Hausswolff moved on to working with arranged photos. This series shows more or less undressed female bodies that lie scattered in nature. The photos were produced while Hausswolff was at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and are strongly influenced by thoughts and ideas on feminism and social power structures in society. These pictures, together with the title, are an (abominable) critique against a culturally more or less explicit way of regarding woman as nature. In Back to Nature woman is reunited with her element. These photos have become veritable icons of Swedish 1990s art, with their clear references to art history (e.g. Women in a Landscape by Richard Bergh) twisted into a scathing criticism against the way women are portrayed. The fact that this series has become so famous even though it has only rarely been exhibited, is probably because it reveals something about the romanticised notion of Swede’s relationship to nature, where the longing and nearness to nature represent both a temptation and a threat.
In many of Hausswolff’s later photographs people are entirely absent or shown with averted faces. This does not signify that the artist has abandoned her explorations of human conditions or relationships, however. Instead, there are traces of people’s activities, in the form of everyday items such as chairs, doors or dust, or in the form of memories, as in the work The Memory of my Mother’s Underwear Converted into a Flame-Proof Curtain (2003). The absence is so compact that it materialises into an unavoidable presence. “

Magdalena Malm

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