On the art of Ström

Photography has been the main medium of CES artistic production since the start of the 1970s. CES is a pioneer of conceptual and narrative photography in Finland, in 1984 he represented Finland with his Silence series at the Venice Biennale.

CES, who has also published works of literature, makes works that are combinations of visual art and verbal art, in which the titles are important. In line with the tradition in conceptual art these titles evoke insights, with everyday matters taking on poetic dimensions. A landscape on canvas represents the contemplation of the nature of art characteristic of conceptual art:How can a landscape be put onto canvas? What is photography and what is painting?

At the beginning of the 1980s, CES photographed a series about the life of an edible snail. CES has given the snail the name Silence. The snail is said to have come to Sweden with Franciscan monks. Silence is an immigrant, with whom CES, who has settled in Sweden, identifies. The muteness of the snail is compared to the silence of immigrants in society, but the pictures equally lead us into meditation on deafness and silence.


(Exerpt from presentation at the Finnish Museum of Photography)

Artist and photographer Carl-Erik Ström (born 1938) is the second oldest member of The Harvesters. Like some of the other members, CES is a self taught artist. Artist colleagues consider Calle as being a close friend, although quiet. In his pictures CES also seems to withdraw into a world with substantially moore room for thought than the real world. An artistic perspective of the significance of photographs as an expressive medium was identified early.

A Cageist tranquility is part of Ström`s photographs, both as a feeling and concretely.

CES is aphotographer who gives tho photograph another meaning than the conventional wiew. The lyrical presence and absence represent a big part of Ström`s images. His black and white photographs broght an abstract significance to images in general, but especially to Photographic art.

(Maaria Niemi in a catalogue for The Harvesters exhibition “Once enfant always terrible” )

See also:

“Som en sten bland stenar”, Cecilia Grönberg, OEI magazine nr 63/64 2014 s.512-537


”Between Realities. Photography in Sweden1970-2000” Cecilia Grönberg “Carl-Erik Ström and The Mighty Photographer. Arena publishers 2013