La viande + L'amour
The Mill & the Cross
Poet of the Elephant House
The Autumn Man
Your Mind is Bigger Than all
La favola del pennello/
The Tree Lover
in the land of the cranes/
I think of myself - and the left
Hiding behind the camera
|I Remember Lena Svedberg|
|Sweden 2000, 7 min, 35 mm, b/w, 1:1.66|
|Director: Carl Johan De Geer|
|Some dead people keep on living inside of you, like pictures. But you never see Lena Svedberg, not even as a reflection in a living person. Lena Svedberg was not like anyone else. Lena Svedberg never grew older than 26.|
|Carl Johan De Geer|
|Director of photography||Jan Alvermark|
|Music||In C av Terry Riley (1964), conductor: Gunnar Valkare|
Produced by Bokomotiv - De Geer & Olsson AB with support from Svenska Filminstitutet, film commissioner Charlotta Denward and Story AB for Ikon, Sveriges Television AB.
I remember Lena Svedberg.
We used to work together sometimes, and I remember her voice, but it’s hard to describe it.
If I take out a picture of her and look at it, I can also remember what she looked like.
Some dead people keep on living inside of you, like pictures.
But you never see Lena Svedberg, not even as a reflection in a living person.
Lena Svedberg was not like anyone else. Lena Svedberg never grew older than 26.
”To her own relief and to our great loss, Lena is dead now”, as they wrote in the catalogue for her retrospective.
Lena drew. She filled sheet after sheet, big pieces of paper. The drawings were chaotic, detailed, amazing. They soon got wrinkled and dirty.
Lena was one of those geniuses that got admitted very young to the School of Fine Arts, or the Royal Academy of Art, as it was called then.
She had painted her walls and floor with black enamel paint. She had broken all her mirrors. All over the floor there where drawings, sheets of paper and drawing equipment.
Her thoughts I could never figure out. My closet was full of her drawings. They had been left lying about.
I had photographed them in order to make small enough copies for Puss magazine; the printers couldn’t handle her enormous wrinkled sheets of paper.
The last time I ever saw her was when she came to my place to pick up some photos, she needed many of them, and they could represent anything, if only there was something to draw in them.
Arms, ears, noses, food, airplanes, animals, Olof Palme... she could use everything. Food and animals she liked a lot. She used to spend a lot of time in the grocery store.
She loved to hug dogs.
I had a lot of left-over pictures. I worked as a photographer and I could take what she needed.
I lived on the first floor of Folkungagatan 70, close to her place.
She had managed alright up to the front door of my building, but when she tried to climb the stairs to my first-floor apartment without an elevator... she just couldn’t make it.
I supported her and sort of dragged her upstairs, she seemed to be 90 although she was 26, she couldn’t lift her legs.
She was like a person from her own drawings, where everyone was crippled or lame.
I gave her a bunch of photos and told her to go home and draw. Three weeks later she was dead. She had thrown herself out of her fifth-floor window.
The drawings in my closet I later gave to her mother for the retrospective.
I remember Lena Svedberg. But I never knew her.
These are quotes from the speaker text of the film 'Jag minns Lena Svedberg' (I remember Lena Svedberg). For me, this short film is both a portrait of an artist and friend, who killed herself in 1972, and the reestablishment of documentary photography. In the 60's and 70's I was a photographer who fervently believed that documentary photography could save what was about to vanish. I knew that people died, and buildings were torn down. What is gone can't be restored. The Lena Svedberg negatives lay undeveloped for almost 30 years. I'm glad that they are used, finally. And there is more - much more - in my files and suitcases.
Carl Johan De Geer
|Available on DVD|