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Gunvor Nelson

Nelson’s most recent work deals with topics of migration, demarcation, and borders.

‘ON THE FENCE signals ambivalence. The title can also be read as onomatopoetic, “on defense”. So, in the same way as the body can be a limit for who I am, who I want to be and how I am perceived by others, borders can work as a space for interaction. A border is not a wall, it becomes an arena for power play, exchange, negotiation and possible change. Gunvor takes this on in her own personal manner, as the filmmaker wanders along gated fields in the company of Håkan Dahlström, commenting on the setting and filming aggressive guard dogs in the area.

Images are interweaved by the sounds of Håkan and Gunvor talking, the dogs barking, and the broadcasts from BBC commenting on the latest events relating to refugees on the Mediterranean.

(Excerpt from Walden on AVANT 2017 – John Sundholm, in conversation with Martin Grennberger)

Aspect ratio 1,78:1 (16:9)
Prod. format Generic HD-video
Duration 00:58:00
Color Color
Sound Stereo
Year 2017
In text Gunvor Nelson
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About the artist

Gunvor Nelson

Gunvor Nelson. Born 1931 in Stockholm. Grew up in Kristinehamn. Lives and works in Stockholm and Kristinehamn. She studied at University College of Art, Craft and Design (1950-51) and at Beckmans College of Design (1952-53), both in Stockholm. Moved to the USA in 1953 and studied at Humboldt State College (1954-57), San Francisco Arts Institute (1957) and Mills College in Oakland (1957-58). She graduated with an MFA in painting. At the Institute she met Robert Nelson whom she married in 1958.

Film debut with Schmeerguntz in 1965, co-made with Dorothy Wiley. Teaching positions at San Francisco State University 1969-70 and San Francisco Art Institute 1970-1992. Moved back to Sweden in 1993. Numerous major awards and grants, most recently the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s Grand Award (2006).

Her films have been screened at major art museums as MOMA in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and cinematheques in Europe and North America. In 2008 Nelson was awarded an artists lifetime income guarantee by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.