Gabey Tjon a Tham

& Sona Stepanyan

Research residency

Guests at bibliotek-a

October 18th - November 15th 2021



Thank you:
Stroom Den Haag
Mondriaan Foundation
Stockholms Stad
Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse


Gabey Tjon a Tham (NL) transforms spaces into a sensory environment through kinetic machines, light and sound. She observes simple behaviours and patterns in nature from where she extracts and assembles fundamentals. Her work explores relationships between humankind, nature and technology where unpredictable processes, conflict and harmony are important subjects. Hereby choreographies that have both a mechanical and natural character arise. In every work, the elements are constantly evolving thus demanding patience and attentiveness to fully reveal themselves. They invite us to wonder at, contemplate and investigate.

If/Then. Photo by Maurice Tjon a Tham. Courtesy of the artist.

For a one-month research residency in Stockholm, Gabey will depart from the framework of her project Symbiotic Spaces: initially a site-specific installation for the Bellamy Neighbourhood in Amsterdam, an environment that was constantly changing due to renovation and construction work. Inspired by the air currents of the wind that are influenced by the surrounding architecture, a series of kinetic and inflatable objects build a bridge between the natural and urban environment, by breathing calmly or suggesting to flutter in the wind.

These ideas extend to the Stockholm region, particularly to the areas of Frihamnen, Värtahamnen, Norra Djurgårdsstaden, Loudden and Hjorthagen, that are undergoing a similar transformation on a larger scale: a living entity where landscapes shift in time and space due to gentrification, rapid city growth and development, while its cultural legacy is given to artists to operate. These areas provide a collection of different conscious and unconscious stimuli, memory and reactions to the various life forms that inhabit them. 

The result of Gabey’s residency and artistic research will be a small work-in-progress exhibition reflecting on the history and the furure of these environments through a study of the dynamics between the natural and the urban, the human and the non-human.

Curator: Sona Stepanyan (bio.pdf)

Born in Armenia in 1987, Sona Stepanyan is an independent curator based in Stockholm. Graduated from Svobodnie Masterskie Curatorial School (Moscow), Critics and Curatorship program of UNIC Institute (Moscow), she is currently pursuing her MA in Curating at Stockholm University.