Sweden Under The Bridge // Ruvan Wijesooriya // News

NYC Arcaders, expect a brilliant and rather soulful culture clash tonight when Sweden appears in Brooklyn as Sweden Under The Bridge. An exhibit of visual art and live music, the event sparks a perfect opportunity to see some of Sweden’s finest, all grooving at Galapagos Art Space. Featuring musicians Nina Persson (yup, of Cardigans fame) and her American hubby Nathan Larson,Göteborg rockers Fibes Oh Fibes and French-Swedish crooner Sibille Attar, the party also hosts Scandi DJs and a cross-continental group of contributing artists. We spoke to photographer and curator Ruvan Wijesooriya about the Swedish connection.

What can visitors look forward to at the exhibit?

We have some great talent showing, both young artists such as Roxy Farhat along with mid-career artists such as Lars Tunbjork. The exhibition compares and contrasts life and experience between Sweden and America, or perhaps more accurately, New York City. There is a fair amount of work dealing with immigration, which is a hot and crucial topic in both Sweden and America at the moment. I hope visitors will get a better idea of Sweden from the show.

Sweden Under the Bridge brings together image-makers and musicians. Tell us a little about your personal connection to Sweden. How does it inspire you?

Sweden is among the most liberal countries in the world. There fashion is more than clothes, being gay is not shunned upon and there is a general strive toward equality. They spread their wealth and gender equality is taken seriously. Some of the young art directors there found out about what I was doing here in New York. Our sense of aesthetic, trend, timelessness and social importance clicked. Also, I had a girlfriend from Sweden for a few years and in that time I was there quite a bit. Over the last seven years I’ve collected many Swedish friends. Because of the egalitarian aspects of their culture, the girls are tougher than most and the guys are a bit more sensitive and perhaps honest with themselves, which is socially easy and approachable. They all know how to party, and so do I. There we go!

Having shot everyone from James Murphy to Iggy Pop, music often influences and inspires your photography, so we have to ask—Who are you listening to lately?

At the moment I’m listening and revisiting a lot of older music. Allides Hidding does a cover of the song “Hollywood Seven,” it is amazing. Planningtorock released their debut last summer; it’s fantastic. On the more chill tip is a band from Sweden called First Aid Kit – Sadly, they were busy and couldn’t be involved in the showcase. I’ve been listening to a lot of early 90s Primal Scream. The Midnight Magic single “Beam Me Up” is a great song to hear out at a club. Jacques Renault’s remix kills. The Crystal Ark and Gavin Russom put out some incredible techno tracks. I’ve been listening to Lead Belly as well.  Sunday afternoon music…

What’s on tap next for you?

I was just in Brazil and shot two main fashion stories for Turkish Vogue, which should be out in the late spring and summer. The LCD Soundystem documentary should be out within the year and my photos are used in its introduction. The film premiered at Sundance, which is always exciting. I have a feeling I will be doing more exhibitions this year. Perhaps not as many as last year, but still one about every two months. So far I’m off to a good start!