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  • Erik Johansson -  Fishy Island
    Dec 18, 2018

American Swedish Institute Announces Highlights of 2019 Exhibitions

American Swedish Institute Announces Highlights of 2019 Exhibitions — Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson in January, and the Midwest Premiere of The Vikings Begin in May

ASI’s 2019 theme is Shift.  View new exhibitions during ASI’s First Look: Imagine preview party on January 25.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – In 2019, the American Swedish Institute will usher in a dramatic suite of exhibitions and related programming linked to a year-long theme of Shift. Highlights include Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson, on view January 26 – April 28, 2019, which showcases the work of an award-winning Swedish visual artist who creates dream-like worlds with fascinating, digital compositions of his photographs. One of ASI’s most significant exhibitions ever, The Vikings Begin goes on view May 17 – October 27, 2019. This Midwest premiere is an extraordinary new exhibition of early-Viking boat grave artifacts from Sweden’s Uppsala University, on their first tour outside of Scandinavia.  ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis.  For more details, visit or call 612-871-4907.

On Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, ASI’s First Look: Imagine preview party offers an advance chance to tour the new January exhibitions in Osher Gallery and the Turnblad Mansion. In addition to Imagine, ASI will display Witness: Stuart Klipper, images by Minneapolis-based photographer Stuart Klipper capturing a post-Chernobyl Sápmi landscape in northern Sweden, and Facing the Climate, featuring humorous and satirical reflections by five Swedish cartoonists.

ASI’s 2019 programming reflects a mission of being a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts. This coming year ASI highlights exhibitions and programs that connect and reflect through the concept of Shift as seen through artists’ eyes; a change in focus or perspective mostly focused on the natural world.

The ASI 2019 exhibition year opens to the public on January 26 with Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson, as well as the Witness and Facing the Climate installations. Imagine a place where fish are islands, landscapes become waterfalls, and the moon is hung from a ladder.  Erik Johansson is an acclaimed Swedish photographer/visual artist, now based in Prague, who creates dream-like realities inspired by nature through clever and complex digital montages of his own photographs. It was organized by Sweden’s Natural History Museum in recognition of Johansson’s 2015 award from Naturvårdsverket as Nature Photographer of the Year.  In March – April, Solar Egg, a reflective, golden sculpture that is both a working sauna and a chamber for conversation, will land in the ASI courtyard as part of Reflect, an installation by a dynamic Swedish duo of Bigert & Bergström.                                       

American Swedish Institute Early 2019 Exhibitions:

  • January 26 – April 28, Imagine:  Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson.
  • March – April, Solar Egg in the ASI Courtyard as part of Reflect, a Bigert & Bergström installation.
  • January 26 – October 27 – Facing the Climate, work by five Swedish cartoonists.
  • January 26 – March 17, Witness: Stuart Klipper, photographs of the post-Chernobyl Sápmi landscapes. in northern Sweden by the Minneapolis-based artist Stuart Klipper.
  • May 17 – The Vikings Begin, the Midwest premiere of a traveling exhibition from Sweden of artifacts from early Vikings boat graves.

Additional Information and Related Programming

First Look: Imagine — Exhibition Preview Party
Friday, January 25, doors 6:30 p.m., event 7–10 p.m.
$15 ASI members / $20 non-members

Get an advance look at the new exhibitions and meet Swedish artist Erik Johansson during ASI’s First Look: Imagine preview party. Kick off ASI’s 2019 year of Shift with an evening full of join-in-the fun activities, including live music by Go for Retro, in-the-moment drawing/visual notetaking, tastings from the Water Bar and special party food and curated cocktails from FIKA. Be the first to see Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson, which features the dream-like, digital photograph montages of the award-winning visual artist and Instagram giant. Additional exhibitions are Facing the Climate with five Swedish cartoonists, and Witness: Stewart Klipper, which highlights images captured by the Minneapolis-based photographer of a northern Sweden landscape forever altered by the post-Chernobyl crises.

Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson
January 26 – April 28, 2019

Related Programming: Meet the Artist Tours with Erik Johansson

Two tours on January 26: one at 11 a.m., the second at 2 p.m.

$20 per person (limit of 30 people)

Imagine a place where fish are islands, landscapes become waterfalls, and the moon is hung from a ladder.  Find these impossible worlds in the work of Erik Johansson, a Swedish photographer/visual artist now based in Prague, who creates dream-like realities through clever and complex montages of nature using his own photographs knit together digitally. The ASI exhibition includes 28 of his works, including seven new pieces that will be exhibited here for the first time. Johansson has taken many photographs near the town of Götene in southern Sweden, where he grew up, and his work challenges viewers’ perceptions of reality. For Johansson, creating an image is about problem solving — photographing ideas, not moments. The exhibition was organized by Sweden’s Natural History Museum, in recognition of Johansson’s 2015 award as Nature Photographer of the Year by Naturvårdsverket.

Facing the Climate
January 26 – October 27, 2019

Five Swedish cartoonists, Magnus Bard, Riber Hansson, Helena Lindholm, Karin Sunvisson and Love Antell, use a sense of humor to reflect on Sweden’s serious commitment to the environment.

Witness: Stuart Klipper
January 26 – March 17, 2019
Artist Reception and Gallery Talk, January 30

Stuart Klipper is an internationally known fine art photographer based in Minneapolis who has spent decades traveling the planet capturing photographs that crystallize the defining characteristics of many countries and regions, including the Sinai, Central and South America, Svalbard, Sri Lanka and Alaska. He has also worked frequently in Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and other Nordic regions. Following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, Klipper returned to the area of northern Sweden that he had fallen in love with earlier, which is also known as the Sápmi region, the indigenous homeland of the Sami people. Klipper witnessed and photographed a forever altered landscape and an impacted culture. The images were created with support from the McKnight Foundation and were originally exhibited at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Reflect: Bigert & Bergström
March –April, 2019

Solar Egg, part of an installation by the Swedish artist duo Bigert & Bergström, is at once a five-meter-tall egg sculpture sheathed in stainless, golden-colored mirror and a functional sauna. It will land in ASI’s courtyard in March 2019, to reflect its surroundings and act as a chamber for the exchange of ideas. Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström created the egg for the Swedish housing developer Riksbyggen as a symbol of new beginnings in the town of Kiruna which is undergoing a gigantic move to make way for an iron ore mine.

ASI Family Gallery: European Market Square
Through January 13, 2019

This seasonal exhibition is inspired by the book Tom’s Christmas Fish, written and illustrated by the mother and daughter duo, Rita Törnqvist-Verschuur and Marit Törnqvist. Play and pretend that you are the baker, fishmonger or artist with your very own market booth. The ASI Family Gallery is an imaginative, interactive gallery where children and their important adults become inspired by stories and illustrations while making connections to themselves and others. The ASI Family Gallery is sponsored by IKEA. Illustrations credit to Marit Törnqvist and Floris Books.

The Vikings Begin
May 17 – October 27, 2019

This extraordinary new exhibition features dozens of early Viking artifacts from boat graves, organized by Uppsala University in Sweden and its museum, Gustavianum, which is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Viking and pre-Viking objects. Based on cutting-edge research by Neil Price, Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and John Ljungkvist, the exhibition at ASI is the Midwest premiere of a collection that has never been outside of Scandinavia until this year, with many finds that are around 1400 years old. With Viking helmets, swords and weapons for attack and defense, as well as jewelry, glass vessels, bowls and other objects with magical importance, the artifacts tell stories both about the society and the people buried with them. The installation is divided into thematic sections on Viking warfare, maritime trade, a ship burial, Norse gods, the Baltic Sea and geo-political relationships to other cultures, shedding new light on how early Viking society was organized, the role of women and the development of maritime innovation that enabled the Vikings to reach faraway lands in the East and the West.

The Vikings Begin exhibition is presented by Viking®

Related activities will continue throughout the exhibitions. For more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.

THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE (ASI) is a vibrant arts and cultural organization, museum and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  The Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.” For tickets, visit or call 612-871-4907.

ASI MUSEUM HOURS:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, Noon–5 p.m.; closed Monday.

Museum Admission: $12 adults, $8 ages 62 +, $6 ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and children ages 5 and under.                            

FIKA, ASI’s award winning café, is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  8:30 a.m. –5 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.  Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The ASI MUSEUM STORE is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. –8 p.m.  Sunday,  Noon-5 p.m.

About Gustavianum, Uppsala University Museum

Uppsala’s largest university museum cares for the University’s magnificent collections of archaeological objects, coins, art, historic scientific instruments, and much more. Our role has three main dimensions: our museum building, Gustavianum, is a place for collaboration between the University and the rest of society; our exhibitions and program of events are inspired by, and reflect, the University’s collections and research at Uppsala University; and

we ensure that our collections are accessible for research and teaching at the University and other institutes of higher education, not just in Sweden but also in other countries. In addition, we endeavor to be a resource for the careers and competence development of University students, through our work experience placements and by offering part-time employment in various parts of the organization. For more information, please visit


About Viking®

Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first three years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017 and 2018 “World’s Best” Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 68 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or visit

Imagine: Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson is supported by ASI’s Members and donors.  ASI’s Hotel Partner is Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot.

The Vikings Begin is presented by Viking (, with support from Charles and Myrna Smith, and ASI’s Members and donors. 

Minnesota artist activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.

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