OPEN CALL | Temporary Art Commission

19 feb OPEN CALL | Temporary Art Commission

OPEN CALL | Temporary Art Commission


In 2015, the Swedish Prison Museum, together with Region Gävleborg, engaged local residents in identifying and examining historical sites of execution in the county of Gävleborg. We now invite five artists to approach these sites and interpret what these local blind spots can tell us. Considering the fact that the death penalty continues to be used in various parts of the world, we are also interested in how these historical sites of execution in Gävleborg, can be connected with other historical or contemporary sites with regard to uses of power, repression and violations of equal rights in the world today.

By focusing on historical sites of execution in the county of Gävleborg we hope to stimulate reflective and critical readings of a historical phenomenon that has become close to unknown in Sweden. Temporary, site-specific interpretations by artists will allow us to navigate moral as well as geographical borderlands. Because it is often on borders that we find previous sites of executions. On hills in order to be visible – perhaps as an element of social control? On the outskirts of parishes or counties – perhaps staged and dramatized in order to subdue, suppress and stigmatize “undesirables” or to compel “outsiders” to adapt to the prevailing norms and ideals? With this project we want to raise questions such as: what have these boundaries meant and can we identify similar boundaries today? How may death sentences and execution sites be connected to perceptions of identity, class, ethnicity, sexuality and gender?

The artistic depictions and presentations of the sites will be part of a more comprehensive project conducted by the Swedish Prison Museum during 2016-2017, which will include talks, workshops, exhibitions, etc. The museum educational programme will focus particularly on the execution sites that the artists and reference groups choose to work with.


The artists’ task will be to create art works based on their perceptions and interpretations of a number of the historical sites of execution in the county and interact with local residents engaged in these issues. These places are often protected historical sites, which leads to certain demands on the whole process of interpretation. The sites may be located on private land, public land or land owned by forestry companies. Several also lie in uninhabited areas, where one can encounter wild animals, overgrown trees, brushwood and other vegetation. The artists should take account of the locations’ conditions so that they avoid putting either human visitors or animals at risk. Wind and weather should also be taken into account, and the less permanent or more vulnerable art works should be able to be removed from the sites after the end of the project. A selection of sites will be made together with various reference groups in the communities involved.


Art college education or its equivalent is required. Artists or groups of artists who are interested in these commissions are welcome to submit an application. The artists should have knowledge of materials that suit outdoor contexts and are specific for this project. Five artists will be given a commission; they will be selected by the project group together with Region Gävleborg’s reference group for art.

The application should contain:

  • CV
  • Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and organization number
  • Examples of images and narrative text from representative projects
  • A short synopsis containing drafts of project ideas, and reasons for wanting to participate in this project (one A4 page)

Mark the application “Borderlands, Spaces Between, Precipices” and send it to, the 11th of March 2016, at the latest. Late applications or applications that are incomplete will not be accepted.


The project is financed by Postkodlotteriets KulturStiftelse. Of the project’s total budget, SEK 1,350,000 is reserved for art commissions. The expenditure limit for carrying out specific art works is estimated at SEK 150,000-400,000, including VAT. This sum covers all costs connected with making and completing the art works in the project: the artists’ own working time, material costs, subcontractors/assistants, travel costs, transport, insurance, artists’ fees.


Desirée Kjellberg

Project leader and curator

Swedish Prison Museum

Erik Anderman

Regional Art Coordinator

Region Gävleborg