Sunday, September 07, 2008

Free Entertainment by Lennart Nilsson in Stockholm’s Kulturhuset

I’ve written about Kulturhuset before, located right next to Sergels torg, it towers (about five stories) over the square. There’s even a rooftop restaurant (which I have yet to check out). It’s a glorious place, for various reasons. The one most important to me at this point in my life is that there tends to be a couple of free exhibitions going on there. And free is good.

So today, in an effort to get a little culture in me, and get the hell out of my apartment, I wandered into town and headed over to Kulturhuset. There were a few different exhibitions, but I really only checked out two of them. And really only paid attention in one of them (the other exhibit by Gunnar Smoliansky had hundreds of pictures and I lost focus). Luckily, I did not lose focus in Någonstans i Stockholm. Somewhere in Stockholm. Lennart Nilsson.

Honestly, I didn’t go there with any intention of seeing Nilsson’s work. I went there because it was free. But apparently this guy is supposed to be world renowned. I don’t really know what that means though.

Anyway, the exhibit featured 42 (yup, I counted) black and white photos taken throughout Stockholm. Some of famous places, others of just random parts of Stockholm. All were taken in the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. And all were pretty impressive really.

One in particular stuck out though. Not because it was a spectacular photo really, and who are we kidding, I’m no photography critic, but because of the subject. The picture, titled “Tjänsteman övar prickskytte,” was taken in 1955 in Riksbanken. Now a quick translation tells us that the title is (basically) “Employees practice sharpshooting,” essentially they were shooting target practice.

That’s really not too exciting. Granted, guns are somewhat rare in this country so that in and of itself was interesting. But I’m American; I’ve seen pictures of guns before. The really interesting thing was where this photo was taken. In a bank. Riksbanken. And when I say “in” I mean inside the bank. With a roof overhead, and walls to the side. Not only that, to top it all off, a woman sits in the foreground working, while four men stand behind her with handguns. Three of whom look to be in the process of firing their weapons, while a fourth is re-loading.

Now, there are probably all kinds of great insights into Swedish culture in the 1950s that can be culled from this photograph. The gun thing. The shooting inside the actual bank. The woman in the foreground who looks to be doing secretarial work. The men at focus with their guns drawn. I just like that they have target practice inside the bank. I’m a simple man.

And I love it. However, you cannot love it. Because today was the last day. It’s been running since May 31st. No one ever promised timely information from this blog.

That being said, there’s always something worth seeing, so check out Kulturhuset. Especially if you want something cheap/inexpensive/free to do in Stockholm, Sweden.

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  1. You need to check out the roof top restaurant before it gets too cold :) It's more of a coffee shop, but you've got a nice view over Sergels Torg.

  2. yeah I really do need to get up there. Ive heard good things.