Who was it?

– A series by Frida Fjellman

Frida Fjellman’s fondness for animals is well known to those who have observed her art over time. Giant bears and tiny lemmings, all made of glass and ceramic. With a humorous twist, or with endless sorrow in their gaze. Always created with the deepest respect for and vibrant sensitivity to life.

Erik Höglund, whom she has chosen as her model for this anniversary project, worked at Kosta Boda for over two decades, from the 1950s onwards. A sculptor in glass, a decorative artist, an audacious innovator, he forced the glassworks to break with tradition time and time again. Like Fjellman, he worked in all possible materials.

Fjellman took her point of departure in Höglund’s bull’s heads from the 1990s. Eye-catching, expressive pieces that are also useful as vases. While Höglund created perhaps 1,000 unique bulls of polychromatic glass, Fjellman set her limit (so far!) at six. On the other hand, the sculptures are 50–60 cm high.

“Erik Höglund was actually my very first experience of a glass artist,” she tells us. “I was just a teenager when I saw an exhibition of his colourful glass pieces. I’ll never forget it.

“Much later, I was awarded the Erik Höglund grant and got to go to Japan and study design language there. That’s why I decided to make my anniversary animals in this style.”

The actual technique is a kind of appliqué that is blown up. The technique combines random chance with careful intent. Like her predecessor Höglund, Fjellman infuses her glass with playfulness and freedom.

This time, it seems her love of play is unusually palpable. To enhance their expression, she gave the characters titles that give them both humanity and a storybook quality. Sort of like Pokémon? Absolutely. But they’re not called Pikachu or Pichu – they bear names like “It wasn’t me” and “Oh Lord!”. Together they form a little human drama, a Fjellman version of La comédie humaine

“When they have plants in them, it gives them hair. It’s exciting to see how that changes their expressions.”

Frida Fjellman

B.1971. Runs her own studio in Stockholm since 2000. Trained at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. Fjellman has a long career of solo exhibitions, starting with her debut show, Blås & Knå- da, in 2001. Her exhibition Inside Frida Fjellman’s Head, featured at the Gustavsbergs Konsthall and Eskilstuna Konsthall, was highly acclaimed. She’s won many awards over the years, and in 2015 she received the Konstnärsfonden’s coveted five-year art stipend.

See more glass by Frida Fjellman