Entering Marie-Louise Ekman's world is like entering a bubble of contradictions – here is both playfulness and seriousness. The pink dollhouse world Marie-Louise has created in her paintings has distinguished itself with the ordinary things standing side by side with provocative absurdities. Now her work has been given new life, this time in the form of jewellery.
When they ran into each other at the Royal Opera's anniversary concert, Efva got an idea and Marie-Louise immediately caught on. Shortly after, over a lunch at one of Marie-Louise's favorite spots in town, Efva told more about the HÖGDALEN.
“We have been in contact, Efva and I, she has been interested in the figures that I have made over the years,” says Marie-Louise. “This feels like something else, I am entering another world and it is very exciting. Next step is when a person will wear what we have done. And that person, with their choice of clothes and words, gets a small brain in silver hanging around their neck or wrist. I get to add something from my world to another person's body.”
“I felt like family with Marie-Louise immediately,” Efva says. “We were five sisters and recently we lost one, and then I got an older sister in Marie-Louise. When we looked at old pictures of our fathers, we laughed a lot – they looked so much alike. There is so much humor, a wisdom, the whole of Marie-Louise is a revolution. Her brain is incredibly flippant and wonderful. I am very happy that I got to meet her, a strong feminist, smart and damn funny. Wearing her art will be awesome.”
The collaboration has partly taken place on Marie-Louise's home turf, in her studio in Stockholm. This way, Efva was allowed to step into her universe. A piece of jewellery that was born in the studio are the earrings that look like a face in profile.
“The original is the set design for Boléro. They are ten meters tall and hang down from the ceiling towards the dancers who move to Ravel's fantastic music. Efva saw small models of them in my studio and said, ‘we have to do that’.”
“I saw them and thought it would be so cool to have two faces around your head, as if you were sitting between them and eavesdropping on a conversation. Incredibly beautiful and amusing,” says Efva.
Marie-Louise describes her relationship with jewellery as more than something pretty to wear, an attitude that many can agree with. She says: “I am a bit practical. I use my hands as tools and then there cannot be anything distracting. I have nice jewellery, I am also someone who enjoys having it. I do not have to have it on my own body, but I can see it on other people's bodies, or on furniture and walls.”
“Having jewellery is also like having a talisman, as you get strength from these things and when the opportunity arises, I also like to wear them. I have rings from my dear husband Gösta that belonged to his grandfather, which he used to wear on stage.”
“It has been a lot of fun to make my images in a different format. Much smaller, but they can also be put on top of another person. If I made a ladyman, there is now a small ladyman you can put on your own neck.”
The ladyman, a body that is both male and female, is an image that Marie-Louise often returns to in her art. Anyone who is familiar with her visual world knows that the human body is of great importance to Marie-Louise's artistry.
“The body is what you have, it is where you are, so to speak. Then it happens that some people die, some people disappear. But it strikes one so clearly, people remain, even if the physical bodies are gone. A human body remains in another human’s body. Most recently it was my dear husband and my sister, but they are still with me.”
“The body is the playfield you must work with. You cannot describe human life without describing bodies, right? It starts and ends with the body.”
Another motif that has a classic Ekman touch is the “Migratory birds”, which also has been depicted in silver in her collection.
“I have things I have collected over the years, including small stuffed birds. Then, I suddenly came across small iron birds meant for garden decoration, and I saw that they would work with my stuffed birds, a potential meeting. I put them together with my birds and then I bandaged them with gauze.
And it became very strange; a stuffed bird is a dead bird, and an iron bird is also a dead bird, but when I combined these two dead birds, one on top of the other, it was as if they both came to life. It was very moving how one carried the other on its shoulders, close to the body as if to save it from something. There is a lot of escape in today’s world, you could say. That image deeply touched both Efva and me.”
Marie-Louise has extensive experience working on group projects, where her idea has worked as the seed for a creation to grow from. The sculptures Det svenska tungsinnet and Margaretha Krook are examples of such projects.
“I am a two-dimensional artist, I paint. I have made these sculptures together with very skilled students at the Academy of Arts. In Gösta's case, we made a cast where he had to stand as a model for Det svenska tungsinnet, but Margaretha Krook is sculpted. Both also have an addition, tears from Gösta's eyes, a crying artist. Margaretha has warmth, she stands in her spot where she herself stood smoking outside Dramaten. When you are waiting for someone, you can lean against her and get warm.”
“The knowledge of the craftsmanship is everything. I am either by myself in my studio and paint until I am satisfied, but on stage or film, or like now, in silver and sculpture. Then you are in the hands of skilled professionals.
It has been a fantastic collaboration between me, Efva and Torbjörn. He is incredible – in a fraction of a second, he sees how to translate something from a flat drawing into something that is not entirely flat.”
“It has grown between us, Efva and me. Efva is a funny person, and we tend to talk over each other all the time. It has been an incredibly easy collaboration; almost a given from the beginning what we would do. I say ‘we’ because I feel it is something created by both of us.
Marie-Louise Ekman's collection consists of 11 pieces and is exclusively sold online. The collection is a collaboration within the HÖGDALEN, a creative hub online with collaborations in art, furniture, accessories, posters, and selected guest designers.
Explore the collection designed by Marie-Louise Ekman, exclusively for the HÖGDALEN.