Jan Åman is a curator, writer, activist and cultural entrepreneur specialized in the intersection between food, cities, art and social phenomena. He is the founder of several cultural platforms, such as Färgfabriken, that with Åman as Founding director (1996-2008) became one of Europe’s most innovative venues for developing art and urbanity. Apart from investigating the possibilities of art he expanded into urban development and has played an important role in the re-thinking Stockholm, through projects such as Stockholm at Large and Väsby Labs. Together with artist Carsten Höller he invited “the man who re-invented cooking”, Ferran Adrià, to Sweden in 2011 and soon after founded Atelier Slice to create a company for developing change through cities, food and art. Atelier Slice soon received two government commissions to create a platform for innovation through food to pair with those on urbanity and art. Atelier Slice was in 2014 joined by partners Johan Jörgensen and Savinien Caracostea. Åman has received several awards for his achievements, and was the first receiver of the Christo & Jeanne-Claude and Lilja Art Fund Foundation Award for cultural entrepreneurship.
Jan Åman has curated numerous exhibitions with the leading contemporary artists, where several has been selected as one of top ten annual exhibitions by Art Forum’s critics.
De ou Par Marcel Duchamp Par Ulf Linde
A spatial investigation of the most influential artist of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp, based on five years of dialogue with professor Ulf Linde, (1929-2013), where Linde’s replicas of Duchamp’s oeuvre (most of them signed by Duchamp) were installed to give an insight into a spatial understanding of Duchamp’s views. Ronald Jones review in Artforum ended with the words: “Linde has never laid claim to being an artist, but after de ou par Marcel Duchamp par Ulf Linde, there is ample reason for Åman to consider the claim for himself.”
Posterity will have a word to say,
Celebrating 100 year after Duchamp Nude Descending a Staircase, Armory show Director Noah Horowitz, invited Åman to make an exhibition on Marcel Duchamp. Being the only non-commercial exhibition at the Armory Show it was accompanied by a high profile seminar featuring Carlos Basualdo of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, professor Molly Nesbit at Vassar College, artist Paul Chan and Daniel Birnbaum of Moderna Museet with Åman as moderator.
ONE DAY ONE DAY – Carsten Höller
Large scale installation in Stockholm with German artist Carsten Höller, where the exhibition format played with duplicity. It was to be celebrated by a special seminar at the Frieze art fair in London for developing new curatorial practice.
Maurizio Cattelan – HIM
After collaborating with Cattelan in numerous projects (such as Permanent Food, The 6th Carribean Biennial and Interpol) Åman invited Cattelan to do a solo-show in Stockholm which resulted in a much celebrated master-piece of contemporary art, HIM, a sculpture of with the body of a nine year old, praying, boy, with the face of Adolf Hitler. The work has been permanently installed in Turin and in Minneapolis.
Gravity of Light – Doug & Mike Starn
CÅman commissioned NY-based artists Doug & Mike Starn to turn their famous use of photography’s basic elements (light and darkness) to, in real life, produce light. Three years of research resulted in a carbon arc lamp, creating a light that altered space and perception. The exhibition has toured in the US and was compiled into a book published 2012 by Rizzoli NY, with an essay by Åman.
Playing the Building – David Byrne
After several years of dialogue, Åman commissioned musician/artist David Byrne to double background in music and art, which resulted in Playing the Building, which, as the title suggests, turned an old factory into a musical instrument. The installation has later been showed in London, New York and Minneapolis.
Eat My Fear – David Lynch
Åman asked the organizers of Cow Parade in Stockholm to, in conjunction with the event, exhibit the refused cow by David Lunch for New York City. The action generated a national debate and discussion about public space and democracy.
Paralyzed, Klara Linden
For a workshop on public space Åman asked Klara Linden to make a video installation, which resulted in Paralyzed. Linden had at the time never exhibited before. Paralyzed was later to be showed at the Berlin Biennial and was the starting point of an important international artist’s career.
Interpol, group show
Åman and Moscow curator Viktor Misiano long term process to address a new cultural and political order after the fall of the iron curtain. The project was based on several years of dialogue between artists from the former East and the West and wanted to examine a questioning of given power structures in the art world. The actions on the opening in Stockholm received world wide attention and has been the subject of numerous books, seminars and academic papers.
Stockholm at Large
A series of workshops and exhibitions that had a massive effect on the development of the Stockholm region. By inviting leading international architects (Farshid Moussavi, François Roche and Andreas Angelidakis) to lead workshops the mental image of Stockholm changed. The Swedish Model had produced a segregated city than now needed an “urban DJ to rem-mix” the city, as Farshid Moussavi put it.
A series of workshops to investigate the need for new urban models after industrial Swedish Model. By adding business developers, economists and innovators it started a process on the needs for creative development within the urban context.
The Stockholm Exhibition
A commission to Åman from City of Stockholm to make study for the possibilities of a Stockholm exhibition 80 years after the 1930 Stockholm exhibition that was the starting point of the Well Fare State and the Swedish Model. Some of the suggested projects, such as Mia Hägg’s Energy Systems and François Roche’s Thing that Necrose have been published world wide.
Founded in 1996 Färgfabriken was an attempt from Åman to re-consider the idea and function of a cultural institution. Instead of displaying what was created in studios it was based on projects that were conceived in close dialogue with contemporary artists, that were commissioned to develop things that did not fit into either commercial galleries or traditional museums. It resulted in unique processes with artists such as Cm von Hausswolff, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller, Dominique Gonazalez-Foerster, David Byrne, Natalie Djurberg and Doug & Mike Starn. A parallel process was to re-think urban development and create a new dialogue between creative minds, politics and business that had a large impact on the development of Stockholm.
The Internet Pavilion
For the 2009 Venice Biennal, artist Miltos Manetas and Åman proposed to, for the first time, introduce the internet inside the art biennial and made a special project for the biennial. By inviting Pirate Bay to exhibit it generated a discussion far beyond art and also introduced a discussion on copyright and signature inside the art world.
A magazine that introduced a new attitude towards art and culture in Sweden by blending the formats of flossy magazines and fashion with special projects by artists and introducing French philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucalt.
Partnership for Culture
On commission from the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs Åman produced a conference and workshop Entitled Shaking Hands & Making Conflicts where intellectuals from 14 countries discussed the needs after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The project was the starting point of Partnership for Culture, an initiative of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierre Schori, to develop new cultural infrastructure in the former Eastern countries.
The New World Bank
A conference and workshop to investigate the possibility of formats to handle the new currency: ideas, featuring Malcolm McLaren, Noreena Herz, Bill Liao, Veronica Valk and many others.
Richard Florida and the Swedish Model 2.0
A conference in the City Hall’s Blue Hall featuring Richard Florida on the creative society’s effect on the Swedish Model. With additional workshops it had a long-term effect on the political and urban discussion in Sweden.
The Urban Turntable
An investigation into the challenges of urban development and the need for new business models, creative models and service innovation models featuring Daniel H Pink, Noreena Hertz and François Roche.
Åman has written in many books, magazines, blogs and newspapers in Sweden and internationally. Among recent books are:
De ou Par Marcel Duchamp Par Ulf Linde
The “final” testament on professor Ulf Linde’s 60 year research on Marcel Duchamp and the it has on the complexity of the most influential artist of the 20th century. Edited by Jan Åman and Daniel Birnbaum and with an introductory essay by Jan Åman.
Gravity of Light
Essay by Åman in a book on Doug & Mike Starn’s most ambitious project to date.
Den andra vägen
On the processes of making art, with 19 stories written by mainly artists and also by some leading curators. Edited by Jan Åman and Ernst Billgren and with a story by Jan Åman.