Don’t you want somebody to love?

Sonja Lundin


March 2nd – 18th


A quote on one of Sonja’s works reads as follows: “Can you live with the fact that your relationships will cause you all the pain you will feel in your life?” In collision with an image of warm childhood, not of escapism but rather, in testimony of it – the quote comes off as disruptive but simultaneously authentic once reality is acknowledged and imparted without subjective selectivity. The earthy, fuscous palette dominant in Sonja Lundin’s pieces reminds viewers, both her age and older, of the unlived or just touched landscapes of clarity and ease, resembling scenes from a distant and more gratifying world. Still, the individual feels tied to this world in such a way that makes it integral to the present. The artist wholly examines what a person might be, what makes them and whether we are composed of parts of what was before us and our heritage. The sediment of heritage may feel untouchable, and cannot see the stuff from which it is made, still it assumes its own existence. In the novel “The Sixth Day”, Stevan prophetically concludes: “As for his image, it is you alone, the first and the last and the only habitant of your life.”[1]

The Hebrew word that depicts divine love for man, and man’s love for the neighbour, rachamim, is rooted from the word rechem – the mother’s womb.[2] However we interpret the relationship between these two concepts, creation will always show itself as their ultimate connection. This including the miracle of conception, birth, photography and memory, relationships, active purpose, creating perpetual principles of universal value, but also the micro-cosmos of the ordinary, singularly summarising the creator and protagonist. In Sonja’s pieces we see variations of the auto-portrait. Variation indeed, as she is never depicting herself, rather segments of herself through perspectives of places or people (family). “Man must attempt to unite with the world by establishing strength over it, transforming others into parts of the self, and through this overcoming his individual existence.”[3] The song “Dont you want somebody to love”, the name of the exhibition itself, emphasises the words WANT, NEED, FIND somebody – words that represent the object of love as an external and distant appearance from the being who craves, needs and searches.

Sonja removes the object further, through temporal, plastic and geographic cadres. A being that, as the song goes, craves, needs and searches, at first glance is completely separate from the object of love. But the auto-portrait is an equally removed reference within the space, and it identifies with the object. Try as we might to displace it, we cannot erase belonging. The idea of the past is tragic because it is unapproachable, we cannot go back to the space nor time where things are kept and safe-guarded, yet the idea itself assumes an indestructible character. The exhibition guides us through spaces that factually no longer exist, yet the pieces themselves are objects that through grids address their own objectivity and material nature – through their materiality coming closer and becoming more recognisable, albeit simultaneously acting as a partition between the viewer and the aura of the content. Reminding us of its physicality regardless of its ability to impress upon reality.

Through the exhibited works, Sonja questions the contemporary person using means that separate, she reconsiders notions of belonging and the person’s urge to connect or the need to conventionally conform to the era of destruction within which we exist. Where love towards the self, which needn’t be categorically cast aside in the Kantian prerogative as something bad, is often glorified into a superficial goal, making the individual (who is by nature a social and productive being) feel the plight of loneliness and disorientation. The artist achieves this subtly, delicately interpreting photographs from her childhood in her paintings/silk screen prints/photo-transfers, pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, creating individual paintings resembling a computer language, some kind of digital archive or a scene from a dream, always coloured in or altered. The photograph as a formed memory, used in various ways as an artwork, ceases to be a medium in itself and becomes part of a web that seems mathematically decided and separated – comes to represent the most delicate network of remembrance, solidarity and untouchable presence, that has long since passed.


Text: Minja Lazareski

Photos: N. Ivanović

[1] Rastko Petrović, Sixth Day, Sumatra 2020, 417.

[2] Erich Fromm, Man for Himself, Zagreb 1986, 96.

[3] Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, Zagreb 1989, 31.