Hardy Strid

16 September–5 November 2017
Opening Saturday 16 September 6-9pm

Not so long ago, in a country far up in the northern parts of Europe, a kung fu master wrote down two Chinese characters on a piece of paper. He then translated them into “never always same thing” for his students. This is of course a sketchy translation based on a creative relationship to a limited English vocabulary, but nevertheless and maybe because of this a very precise and telling one. “Always same thing” suggests a constant repetition of the same and “never” a refusal. It resembles change, but stretches beyond that. “Never always same thing” seems to indicate the turning away from a continuous repetition of sameness.

Hardy Strid’s art praxis, throughout his entire career, is definitely something that relates to the phrase above. His work was a perpetual exploration of styles and inspirations, a never ending influx of impressions ranging from international art currents and global politics to local news and everyday dilemmas. He was not afraid of leaving well known grounds to find and explore new territories. He kept looking everywhere, and elsewhere. Within an art context the approach of “never always same thing” places you in a tricky position – you are out on deep waters, to say the least. For Hardy Strid it was never about renewing himself for the sake of it. His work was always triggered by a curious exploration and thus in continuous transformation – a constant reinvention of himself and his art over and over again. Maybe, this was an attempt to escape narrow categorisations and isms, a refusal to be inserted into a square art system. His diverse practice became a critique of the present. Like a pirate, Hardy Strid sailed the seas of the art world moving between islands of expressions, tendencies and ideas, sometimes with and sometimes against the wind.

Today, as yesterday, recognition in the full sense of the word is generally ascribed to the familiar and understandable, while difference is met with questions, at times even suspicion. For Hardy Strid consistency was the total opposite of conformity. He was consistent in his diversity of expression rooted in a restless desire for a tomorrow. Instead of cultivating his artistic legacy or letting strategic career moves guide the outcome of his work, he was on a constant quest that pushed him towards a tomorrow that resonates with our today. A sort of travel in time, if you like. We don’t know much about the future to come or how the art of tomorrow will be like, but why not look at the production of Hardy Strid’s 70 year-long never always same thing artistic approach and be inspired to reimagine the kind of art world we wish to have today, tomorrow.

Hardy Strid (1921-2012) was a Swedish artist based in Halmstad. He studied at the Valand Academy of Arts for Professor Endre Nemes. In the 1960s he was part of the Scandinavian section of the Situationist International, later called Bauhaus Situationiste. In 1975, together with colleague Stefan Thorén, he founded KAF (The General Union of Artists) as an alternative to KRO (Swedish Artists’ National Organisation). He was also part of initiating what later became Teckningsmuseet (The Museum of Drawings) in Laholm.

idag, imorron (today, tomorrow) was the title of an exhibition Hardy Strid did at Galleri 5 Sekler, Stockholm in 1965. The exhibition became controversial, not for anything that was exhibited, but because of its catalogue formulated as an ironical protest.

Our deepest gratitude goes to Peter Johansson, a greater custodian of an artistic oeuvre is rare to find, and to Jean Sellem for all his knowledge and wit.