A House of Clay
Erik Gustafsson


Erik Gustafsson (b. 1987) is a photographer and print-maker living in Gothenburg, Sweden. Through montages of photographs of people, places, things and abstract pictures, his work revolves as much around mirroring his passage through life, as it does around the open interpretation of the meaning of images. That is, through new associations between them. After receiving his MFA from HDK-Valand in Gothenburg, Gustafsson’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues such as Galleri Steinsland Berliner, Stockholm (2022), MELK Galleri, Oslo (2022), Lundgren Gallery, Palma (2022), Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg (2021). He has previously published two books; Pause Between Thought and Action (self-published, 2022) and This is Farewell (Heavy Books, 2020). Soon he will release his third book A House of Clay, published by Loose Joints (2024).

We are proud to present Erik Gustafsson’s third solo exhibition at MELK titled A House of Clay, where the birdsong of everyday life interacts with cycles of darkroom creation and destruction.

Gustafsson places his conceptual and contextual photographic process in dialogue with a simple premise, a truism of photography: to elevate the everyday, to find meaning and take seriously the smallest of occurrences in ordinary life, and to invoke a sense of gratitude and wonder toward consciousness, sensing and feeling. Sometimes excessively normal, elsewhere tender and intimate, later dense and complex, Gustafsson’s warm slices of life are digested in the darkroom, where the technical processes of photography fall in on themselves, becoming embedded in the image: collapsing the space between process and final product.

Balancing consciousness and coincidence, Gustafsson’s moments of magical realism speak of a permanence, a perpetual present, where the continually unfinished image can always be, at a later stage, altered, manipulated and reshaped. Gustafsson’s work is a structure that is built to collapse and resurrect again and again in new ways.

– Lewis Chaplin, Loose Joints. A House of Clay is published by Loose Joints, February 2024, with two essays by Elisa Medde and Louis Nitze.

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