An Aldgate playlist inspired by The Whitechapel Gallery’s Exhibition, ‘Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: This is the Night Mail, Selected by Ida Ekblad‘. Read more about the inspiration behind this playlist below.
This is the Night Mail is the first line of W.H. Auden’s 1936 poem describing a train journey across a sleeping Britain as it carries the nation’s mail. It accompanied a film commissioned by the Post Office with a soundtrack by composer Benjamin Britten. The poem has inspired Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad in her selection of works from the collection of Christen Sveaas.
Ekblad is renowned for her polychromatic paintings that can expand into environments. Coming from the land of the longest and the shortest nights, she shares with artists featured here a fascination with the nocturne.
Ekblad explores how moonlit interiors and landscapes frame dreams, dramas and transgressions. She includes 19th and 20th century masterpieces by Norwegian artists, such as the planetary compositions of Anna-Eva Bergman, disturbing fables by Theodor Kittelsen, psychologically-charged nightscapes by Edvard Munch and dreamy nocturnes by Harald Sohlberg. Imagining the display as three train compartments, Ekblad also shows contemporary night scenes by artists such as Sophie Calle, Martin Kippenberger, Ed Ruscha and Rosemarie Trockel.
The Oslo-based collection has been built up over forty years with a focus on painting by Norwegian and international artists alongside antique silver and glass objects. Also included in the display: Nikolai Astrup, Lynda Benglis, Andreas Bloch, Louise Bourgeois, Giorgio de Chirico, Johan Christian Dahl, Garde Eide Einarsson, Arne Ekeland, Theaster Gates, Isa Genzken, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Thorvald Hellesen, Howard Hodgkin, Rebecca Horn, Ludvig Karsten, Edvarda Klaudine Lie, Christian Krohg, Per Krohg, IIya Kabakov, Albert Oehlen, Paulina Olowska, Steven Parrino, Sigmar Polke, Christian Schad, Adolph Tidemand, Francesca Woodman.
Each of the tracks in this playlist has played an inspirational role in Ida’s exhibition and wider artistic practice.