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Die for You – artist Charlotte Gyllenhammar presents a new version of the artwork

Many people in Stockholm were greeted by a spectacular sight when they strolled down Drottninggatan, at Sergels torg 30 years ago – an upside-down oak hanging between the houses. The oak tree was one of the artist Charlotte Gyllenhammar’s very first works of art, Die For You, and made many people encounter art in a new way. This autumn, a new version of the artwork, Die for You/Take root, 2023, will be installed in a collaboration between the artist, the Public Art Agency Sweden and Stockholm Art.

The artwork was part of the exhibition Rules of the Game, an artist initiative that playfully allowed art to temporarily meet the audience in the middle of the city. The placement of the various works of art was determined by chance through a game of billiards. The pool ball’s landing destination corresponded to a place on the Stockholm map. Gyllenhammar’s ball ended up in the middle of the modern concrete city that in the 1960’s replaced the area’s older buildings.

Die For You is the starting point for Gyllenhammar’s method of reversing the perspectives to investigate the conditions of human existence and the artistic creation process. Like previously, the tree is taken from a farmer’s land in the Stockholm archipelago where the number of trees are reduced so that those that remain can take the resources they need to grow healthy. The oak will be reused in a dignified way at the end of the project. In this way, the oak – just like trees in the forest – will be given new life far beyond its own.

A lot has happened on Drottninggatan since 1993. The terrorist act in 2017 has created wounds and new painful memories. Die For You/Take root, 2023 therefore becomes a point of reference in a new landscape. How can we read this work of art now?

“The oak hanging upside down looks like a bolt of lightning from the sky. My vision of the tree was that clear in 1993. It also resembles an hourglass or the eternal number 8.”

– Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Artist

Charlotte Gyllenhammar explains why she has chosen to make a new version of the work:

“The oak hanging upside down looks like a bolt of lightning from the sky. My vision of the tree was that clear in 1993. It also resembles an hourglass or the eternal number 8. This cyclical figure calls for repetition and return. Now after 30 years, I am returning together with the original team to re-hang an oak tree from Roslagen at Sergels torg.”

In connection with the installation of the new version Die For You/Take root, 2023 in central Stockholm, the Public Arts Agency Sweden will also arrange a program open to the public based on the work. More information about the program will be published in the autumn.

About Charlotte Gyllenhammar

Charlotte Gyllenhammar is one of Sweden’s most famous artists. She is educated at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm and The Royal College of Art in London. She made her public breakthrough with the work Die For You in 1993. Her art is represented in many collections as well as in a large number of public works. Charlotte Gyllenhammar has participated in several international exhibitions and has been named artist of the year 2023 by Princess Estelle’s Culture Foundation. As such, she has created a site-specific work in Princess Estelle’s Sculpture Park at the Royal Djurgården in Stockholm.

About Stockholm Art

Stockholm Art’s mission is to enrich our common environments through public art in Stockholm, arouse emotions and encourage conversation and reflection. Our ambition is for as many people as possible to experience art in their immediate environment. We work with new public artworks in environments that are accessible to the public and are responsible for the deployment and care of the city’s art collection.