What Could Not Be Expected in the Country of Eternal Light


During the rainy summer of 1817, a group gathers in a villa at lake Geneva where they scare each other with made up ghost stories. One of the persons in the gathering is the, at the time 18-year old Mary Shelley, the daughter of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Inspired by the evening she writes the horror novel “Frankenstein – the modern Prometheus” which is published two years later. In the book scientist Frankenstein constructs a creature with the intention to create life, which he also succeeds at. Frankenstein cannot bear the sight of the horrific monster he has created and abandons it. The monster´s curiosity, warmth and patience is overwhelmingly tried. Alone in the world he decides to take revenge on his creator.

The novel is rich in layers and the possibilities for interpretations are many. At the core is the critique of science and the (male) genius who puts himself over nature and God. It is possible to draw parallels to present time gene manipulation and artificial intelligence, but also to what “monsters” we human beings creates with our climate footprints and environmental pollution. Besides, the book is also a travel-log from a borderless Europe absent of passports, where nature with it´s mountains, lakes and thunderstorms, play a key role in shedding light to a state of inner turmoil. Frankenstein filled with trepidation and shame of having made the creature, does not dare telling anyone of the monster. The monster, who is born with many strengths; good, strong and intelligent, provoke horror in everyone who sees him. He is perceived as grotesque, ugly, different. It is easy to identify “the Other” in the monster, the one we reject, the one we cannot self-identify with: the fundamentally impossible of recognition.

The exhibition title is a quote from Mary Shelley´s iconic horror novel. Observing the novel´s 200-year jubilee, the nine members of the artist group VERKLIGHETEN have worked with the theme Frankenstein´s Monster. The exhibition explores different aspects of the Frankenstein thematics through film, sound, photography, drawing and installation. The art in the exhibition brings forth subjects such as the archive, present-time monsters and natural experiments gone wrong.

VERKLIGHETEN is an artist-run gallery founded in Umeå 2001. An important part of our driving force  is our collaborative work as an artist group and to have vivid discussions concerning art and creativity. Currently VERKLIGHETEN consists of the following artists: Clarissa Siimes, Mattias Olofsson, Gerd Aurell, Mia Rogersdotter Olofsson, Sandra Wasara-Hammare, Alexander Svartvatten, Fanny Carinasdotter, Ida Hansson and Helena Wikström.