As you all might have seen in the last curators corner, I started presenting the museums line-up for building exhibitions together with me. Next in line is a guy I got to work with back in the mid 1970 at the Swedish Riksteatern. We toured a lot together and became good friends and still are. Gunnar Björs is a brilliant lighting designer in his low-key way to work. When you build an exhibition, or designing a stage set etc, the magic thing happens when the lighting designers do their thing. The lighting work comes in quite late in the process to be able to properly see what’s going to be lit, how and why. Every time this happens I’m like a child on Christmas eve. Suddenly everything comes to life and you see it all like it should be seen.
One more feature working with Gunnar is something quite unusual. Besides the lighting work he always, in his low-key way, comes up with improvements, small ideas with big effects or just helping me to rethink something that has gone in the wrong direction. A situation that everyone ends up in sooner or later when working with something creative like this. And I am so grateful for these inputs. Basically, I believe everyone should have a Gunnar.
The Grandmaster of Set design is next to be presented.
All the best,
Coming down every day to the exhibition-site in the museum is so exiting. Every day the team has built, constructed or painted something new and I am so happy to have the honour of working with these skilled people.
Whatever you do you need the craftsmen and women that makes it all happen. People making your costume, a designer that does your light, the set designer making it look as it should, sound design to make you sound good. Someone to make a wig or your hair and make-up, props, gaffers, grips, production managers, carpenters and so on. It’s all a joint venture. Next time you see an exhibition, theatre, musical, movie or concert please check the program or end credits and you’ll see all the different professions that have contributed to the result. I have just mentioned a few here but I think you know what I mean. So, in my Curators Corner going forward I will mention some of the people I work with and tell you a bit about what they do, because I can assure you that all the credit I get from doing exhibitions is definitely to be shared with these people.
Today I met up with my “wing woman” Anna Söderberg in the building site to look at some issues to be decided. This is our fourth exhibition together and I just love to work with her. Anna is responsible for the set design on site on a daily basis. She works close together with Bengt Fröderberg who is the set designer. She is there all the time and sees things and in a low-key way she suggests different solutions, she is a great listener and always a smiling face. To have someone that you are absolutely safe with is a blessing in this shaky world of entertainment. Now we are getting closer to the phase we are both longing for… when we can start filling the exhibition with the “meat on the bones”. Movie clips, props, original items, photos, textiles costumes etc. It’s so fun and especially when you think so much alike as we do. Rewarding is what it is J.
I have written about this in my book, ABBA The Backstage Stories, as well. Thinking about these guys and girls I was working with back in the days when I was fairly new to all this. So much I learned just by seeing and listening to them, on tour or at the film set or the theatre stage. I have a little fear that this way of working is disappearing slowly but surely. It feels like young people should have the experience of a 40-year-old, but they are in fact 25. Walk alongside with the skilled people that can pass along experiences and tricks of the trade is the best way to learn after leaving the vocational training school.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece of my everyday life and that you will come back next time.
All the best,
For those of you who didn’t join us for the opening of Guitars Of The Stars, I can tell you it went really well. As you all know, there are no guarantees of the outcome of any creative work. You can only do what feels good for yourself and hope that others will enjoy it to. And of course, as always, do the absolute best you can.
Claes “Clabbe” af Geijerstam is the owner of the 50 guitars on display in the exhibition but also guest curator of the exhibition Guitars Of The Stars. He did such an amazing job and together with the rest of the team we can say that we are really proud of the exhibition.
We are now currently walking down the stairs every day to our new exhibition room, there is an elevator, but I still want to go down the stairs instead just to hear the sound of the guitar clips in the screens and see the beautiful handcrafted guitars. It’s a big inspiration everyday. I’m also still struggling with the few chords I have learned on my own lovely Fender Squire that I got as a gift from Guitars the Museum in Umeå.
As I wrote earlier, we are working hard on the new big permanent exhibition opening in May. I’m so thrilled with doing this since it has been a request from our visitors since we opened the museum back in -13.
My future plans as we speak is that after May I need to go in to our warehouse and totally dig myself down in to all the fan items we have got from so many of you during these 5 years. They need sorting and to get into our archive lists. Absolutely amazing with all the hearty collected items and it really triggers me to maybe start planning for a “Wall of Fans”-exhibition. Here we can show everything from big oil paintings of ABBA to knitted trousers for Agnethas baby boy or just all these amazing stories that originates from the music of ABBA. Let me know if you think it’s a good idea.
More good news is that there now is a ABBA The Museum Foundation. This way both the former members of ABBA, their friends, old colleagues and fans etc can donate their items to the foundation so that we sooner or later will own all our items to display in the museum.
Sad news is that Frida and Bennys hairdresser from the 1970thies Elisabeth Hofstedt recently passed away in a heart failure. I got to know Elisabeth when she came with us on tour 1979 in the US. Photos of her and her hairdressers stuff is in the museums display of the “Dressingroom”. RIP Elisabeth.
Finally, we would love you to help me and the museum to scan the market for more ABBA items. I know there are original costumes and other related stuff still out there and we would love to have it to place another piece of the puzzle about the life and work of ABBA and after 1982 as well.
All the best for now,
A big welcome to you who found your way to this little corner of our new website. This is the first Curators Corner where I’ll be writing about new things that is happening in the museum or other places related to us. Also maybe ventilate some issues with you, dear friend of ABBA The Museum, ask for advice, answer questions etc.
I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you during those years since I started back in 2008. Here in Stockholm, but also in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Prague and Budapest. Fun meetings where I have learned so much just by talking to you whether you are a die hard fan, medium fan or just a happy visitor. Thanks for that!
This year in May the museum will celebrate 5 years here at Royal Djurgården. It has been very exiting years and so much we have learned and so much we have in front of us. For those of you who visited us when we set up the ABBAWORLD exhibition at Earls Court in London 2010 knows that a lot is still the same in the museum but so much has also changed.
Since we started 2013 we have had around 1.5 million visitors, more than 70% of them comes from abroad. This makes me and all of us so happy. It means that we are doing it right. And yes, you can definitely say that people would come anyway because it’s a museum about ABBA but I believe that we have done it in such a way that people wants to come back. You can’t see and do all at one visit can you? Also the fact that we change, build new or plan ahead for new interactions seems to attract visitors a second and a third time.
Swedish Music Hall of Fame, that we shared space with from opening, moved to a new place last year because they needed more space, as did we. A happy divorce, if there is one!
So, now we have more space and we really have been listening to what our visitors wants to see in the museum in the future. So in May we will open a new permanent exhibition based on what visitors has been asking us to show. We are quite exited about this. Björn and set designer Bengt, his sidekick Anna has been amazing collaborators in creating this exhibition and I also have the best guest curator…guess who?
But first in line is our new temporary exhibition Guitars Of The Stars. ABBAs long time friend and sound engineer on the tours Claes ”Clabbe” af Geijerstam is a true collector of exquisite signature guitars since many years. I asked Claes last spring if we could do a little exhibition with them and he was happy to do this. Claes is also guest curator here to assist me in the planning of the layout. We also have some tips and tricks of the trade from the experts at Guitars The Museum in Umeå. January 25th is the opening of this temporary exhibition and I hope that you can come, sooner or later. But don’t forget to put May in your calendar. The five-year jubilee of ABBA The Museum and the opening of our big new permanent exhibition.
Last but not least, the museums new director after me is my best sidekick ever, Caroline Fagerlind. She is doing the job so very good and we are all happy to have her behind the wheel!
All for now my friends, stay tuned and take care.
Ingmarie, Creative Director and Curator at ABBA The Museum