Bloomsbury Spirit at Artipelag


The art venue Artipelag in the Stockholm archipelago invited to the Bloomsbury Spirit exhibit and vegetarian luncheon I gladly attended.

Without knowing it at the time my first close encounter with art derived from the Bloomsbury Group was when I experienced E.M Forsters novel Maurice made into film by James Ivory 1987 and then grasping that my beloved Merchant/Ivory film A room with a view was the work of E.M Forster as well.

It hit me so hard that E.M Forsters name was forever etched in my memory. The novel Maurice was written 1914 but not published until 1971 posthumously since Forster did not want to publish it due to it´s gay theme that in his time would have meant the end to his career.


E.M Forster along with Virgina&Leonard Woolf, Vanessa&Clive Bell, Duncan Grant, John Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, Vita Sackville-West are examples of members of the group named after an area in London called Bloomsbury.

We are guided into world of the the Bloomsbury group by the author of :  Ta sig frihet. Bloomsbury, Indien och konsten att leva who also is the external curator of The Bloomsbury Spirit : Ingela Lind and in-house curator Bo Nilsson. The doors are opened to reconstructions of the Charleston Studios & homes as well as the Cadena Café where the artistic group used to meet in London.


If you have been to Artipelag before this is not how your are used to seeing it. The scenography set built to recreate the places important to the Bloomsbury group has totally transformed this modern building into time travel taking place in the beginning of the 1900´s in England.


Of great importance to the Bloomsbury group was Diaghilev´s Les Ballet Russes performance of Le Dieu Bleu, which is recreated with the the stage costumes and the ingenious scenographic paintings of Ernst Billgren made especially for the exhibit. Strangely all the important headgear that was part of the costumes are not shown.


The original Virgina Woolf short story Kew Gardens with illustrations by Vanessa Bell. Se my visit to Kew Gardens in London HERE.


Peter Köhler has interpreted the artistic impression of Dora Carrington in a dialog painting in the scenography with room for her and her life partner, the openly gay Lytton Strachey. The boundary crossing lifestyles of the members of the Bloomsbury Group might be the most significant contribution to our time.


The table and four-fould screen titled Lily Pond created by Duncan Grant 1913-1914 painted in oil feels like it could be sold now at any hip furniture store in any major western city. It really talks to me and the pattern that does not make me think of a lily pond at all but looks to me like a camouflage pattern gone mad with modernism.


The Bloomsbury Spirit dresscode interpreted by Cay Bond feels so now in the sense that this could be worn in Stockholm today, which is more than correct because they are designer Erdem Moralioglu for H&M and explains why the spirit of these artist living a 100 years ago is top of mind 2018.  Part of the experience at Artipelag that when spring arrives will be added is to have gardens created in the Bloomsbury Spirit,  that I have to come back to visit.

See the exhibit, read the books and look at the films that explore the life&art of the artists like The Hours, Orlando, Howards End, Carrington and the tv series Living in Squares. They lived in circles, they painted in squares and they loved in triangles. See the Bloomsbury Spirit exhibit at Artipelag.

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Dora Carrington, Stephen Tomlin, Sebastian Sprott, Lytton Strachey.


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