06 Jul Migration: Traces in an Art Collection
In the spring of 1945, at the close of the Second World War, refugees from the Nazi concentration camps arrived with “White Buses” operated by the Swedish Red Cross in Malmö. With public facilities quickly reaching capacity, Malmö Konstmuseum’s director Ernst Fischer decided overnight to transform the museum into a refugee shelter, providing hundreds of beds. The event is memorialised in a monumental painting from the same year by the artist Sven Xet Erixson. But it is also recorded in the many drawings left behind by those who found accommodation in the museum, which have remained in the collection ever since. Among them are small works on paper that depict life in the concentration camps, or portraits of other prisoners. The own history and the recent events let to the exhibition “Migration: Traces in an Art Collection”. How have artists related to exile and migration over the past 150 years? From the artworks left behind by the concentration camp survivors to works of exiled Latvian artist in Sweden to works by artists who have firsthand experience of migration but do not explicitly depict it in their art, the publication accompanying the exhibition engages a range of artistic expressions of the migrant experience. It also presents a number of contemporary works that comment on the perception of migration and displacement in a globalised world while examining the museum itself as a site of knowledge production.