Prologue (the Gothenburg Affair)


2021

Pigment prints on cotton paper, photographic wallpaper, pulsating light bulb with mixer set to 120 BPM. The work is part of the Hasselblad Foundation collection.

—There were two sitting, cheek to cheek, with arms tenderly entwined around the tiny waist, and There another leaned his head so tenderly against his neighbour’s chest, and There was another pair that sat so tight, close to each other.

In the 1920s, the boulevard magazine VIDI publishes a conservative entertainment and culture journalism characterized by a strongly anti-Semitic and homophobic agenda. In one of these articles, the infamous editor Barthold Lundén crashes a private party arranged by the Karlsson brothers, who are part of a “homosexual plague” in Gothenburg. The experiences are reflected in a series of descriptive snapshots, with a language characterized by both disgust and fascination. Lundén is evicted from the party, but still gives the appearance of a successful assignment. Between the lines, an act of resistance is hinted at, where the brothers find strength in the collective community and defend a private sphere. 

In a fragmented scenography, Prologue (the Gothenburg Affair) presents an imaginary piece of evidence, shaped by modernism’s playful investigative still life and the emerging crime scene photography of the interwar period, where the presence of the hand often emphasizes the essential with an unassuming gesture. 

Installation view, Bonniers Konsthall, 2024.
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger.
There was another pair that sat so tight, close to each other.
Pigment print on cotton paper.
There were two sitting, cheek to cheek, with arms tenderly entwined around the tiny waist.
Pigment print on cotton paper.
There another leaned his head so tenderly against his neighbour’s chest.
Pigment print on cotton paper.
Front: Duane Michals Homage to Cavafy/The Old Man Photographs the Young Man, 1978.
Back: The Intoxicating Light of Love. Pulsating light bulb with mixer set to 120 BPM.
Source of Plague from Barthold Lundén’s tabloid VIDI No 1, 3 January 1924.
Photographic wallpaper.
Installation view, Hasselblad Foundation, 2021
Photo: Cecilia Sandblom

This is the prelude to a notorious trial against a circle of gay men that will begin a decade later and which also forms the basis for Karlsson Lundgren’s performance work We Feel a Desire for Caresses by Men (The Gothenburg Affair) in the exhibition With New Eyes at Göteborgs Konsthall. 
The Gothenburg Affair in its entirety is commissioned by Hasselblad Foundation and made possible with the support of the Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation Research Fellowship.
Exhibitions: Hasselblad Center/Foundation, Gothenburg SE. Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm SE.




 ©MMXIV Conny Karlsson Lundgren