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LARS EMBÄCK IS A SWEDISH ARTIST WORKING WITH INSTALLATIONS, DRAWING, PHOTOGRAPHY AND WRITING.

Quote from William Crona's afterword to Family Life - The Artist's Hidden Secrets, Spleen Nordic Art 2020:

The origins of the series of exhibitions dealing with his childhood and his relationship with his parents can perhaps be traced in a comment made by Embäck regarding the exhibition It’s Now that Counts: »There are wounds that don’t heal with the passage of time.« Through Embäck’s work, and the text of Family Life specifically, one gets the sense that the trauma of his childhood has followed Embäck through his adulthood, unresolved, and that his work forms part of the struggle to come to terms with how deeply it impacted his life and the paths it took. Part of the trauma, one senses, derives from the terror at the thought that an external event, an accident, a blow to the head, can cause you to lose your very self, which disappears never to return.


This is one of the terrible insights of Embäck’s narrative in Family Life: that by losing their memories after their respective traffic accidents, father and mother have also therefore lost their identities. In Family Life, as in the series of exhibitions leading up to it, it is precisely to the past that Embäck turns in an attempt to find or perhaps forge the self. Embäck, the man and the artist, searches for the past subjectively – as it appears in his memory – and objectively – as it stares out at him from doctor’s reports, photographs and newspaper clippings. As Embäck himself said of the Folie à Deux exhibition: »In the working process you gain access to situations that look foreign and impersonal even to yourself.« The past, or a version of it, is then re-created in the present as artwork so that past and present, public and private are complexly merged together. What Embäck said in a 1989 article about the viewer and the artwork resonates equally well with his own backward-gaze in Family Life: »The adventure begins and ends in a delimited space at one particular time. And the mystery that arises opens itself like a flash of lightning – a borderline event we come upon in the distance between the tangible and the insecure.« In Family Life, remembered events out of the family past are interposed and juxtaposed with objective documents that inform the artist’s understanding and interpretation of his memories, and by necessity, of himself. This is the truth, inside and out.