In the midst of all the posters on Götgatan (the main street of Södermalm) promoting concerts, festivals, comedy nights, and dance clubs, there was one I saw the other week which really stood out. In contrast to the all the other posters which were very “busy”, this poster portrayed a single image of twenty-something woman (a woman living with a disability) dressed beautifully and holding flowers.
As I was heading off to Turkey in a day or two, I didn’t have the time or attention to find out more, and so I snapped and image and made a mental note to re-visit this.
In my post-Turkey days back in Stockholm, I was determined to find out more about the exhibition. A bit of Google-ing revealed the poster was there to promote an exhibition of photographs by Stefan Bremer currently showing at the Finnish Institute in Stockholm.
The associated publicity explains…
Duva/Diva is a photographic collection created by DuvTeatern in co-operation with photographer Stefan Bremer, Blue Flamenco School of Dance, costume designer Paula Varis and graphic designer Maria Appelgren. The photographs are inspired by the beauty and glamour of the world of the opera, the proud and sensual flamenco dance, the dramatic story of Carmen and the roles developed by the performers in Carmen, Bird of Prey – a variation of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Carmen, Bird of Prey premiered in January 2011 and was a co-production between DuvTeatern, Finnish National Opera and Blue Flamenco School of Dance.
Ever since its establishment DuvTeatern has challenged common conventions and conceptions of theatre by raising such questions as who has the right to be on stage and who is a real actor. The encounter with the world of the opera and its professional singers further highlighted these themes and enabled both performers and spectators to reconsider our notions of professionalism, self-esteem and beauty. For what is beauty? Who is worthy of admiration? And, finally, who is the true Diva?
The realisation of this series of photographs was made possible thanks to the sincere commitment of the eight actors of DuvTeatern and the four dancers of the Blue Flamenco School of Dance. This publication is a tribute to them: to their dedicated, creative and ambitious approach towards their work as actors and dancers.
There’s about twenty or thirty photographs in the exhibition, and they’re all absolutely compelling. In some exhibitions where there’s a lot of similarity in the style of imagery, you can find yourself browsing the works, walking quickly from one to the next. That wasn’t the case with this exhibition. As the works were all very personal, I felt compelled to spend time with each of them, and to look closely into the eyes of the people portrayed.
There’s also a video of the actual theatrical production, and so you get a sense of what that was like also.
If you’re in Stockholm over the next few weeks, I’d highly recommend this beautiful exhibition.