The Swedish National Board of Institutional Care (SiS) communicates its activities with the slogan “It is a matter of life and death”. With the same degree of seriousness, Lisa Strömbeck undertook the commission to provide some life for young people who temporarily need to step out of a collectively organised society in order to receive schooling and treatment in a secluded environment. At SiS’s residential home for young people in Hässleholm, light now floats over the surface of a wall where the students get together, wait and meet. Magic may be a commonplace expression but here it has meaning.
“This pine plant didn’t get a good start in life. It struck root in a place where it was too dark for it to grow properly. Larger pines overshadowed it and took all the light and nutrition. It has suffered but it is alive. It only needs a bit more light to get its strength back and thrive, raise itself up and grow strong.”
Lisa Strömbeck’s artistic practice is warm. She feels compassion both on an individual and on a societal level. It is evident in Strömbeck’s description of the artwork that she has literally teased out of the wall in a residential home for young people in Hässleholm.
In collaboration with SiS and the property owner, Fojab Architects have created architecture that moves us. In the residential home for young people, there is a kindness in the light transmission, materials and choice of colours. It is abundantly apparent that the architects have tried to understand what it’s like to be a child or a teenager in a residential home for young people. The eye can wander and explore bricks and cedarwood; the indoor colours slowly flow from one hue to another. When the artist entered the building, she was able to transfer the interpretation into the art. From the restrictions that are part of the nature of a building of this type she has created a light that continues into places where the architecture cannot reach.
Ljus för liten tall (Light for a Small Pine) is installed on the large wall outside the gymnasium. The grey-painted wall rests quietly until the light glides down over the surface into warm, orange-yellow fields. This is where the wall comes to life; it is given small insets and shadows. From golden yellow it borders on green or perhaps orange. It is not far-fetched to see the warm tones of the sunlight, feel the soft rays against one’s skin. Then, white light comes floating down. It is three-dimensional and mystical. What is happening? It never stops falling. Slowly, slowly, the light falls towards the floor until it runs out on the carpet.