The Borderland

Åsa Cederqvist’s work The Borderland adds a playful new layer to the rich natural and cultural history of the hundred-year-old Heby Folkets Park. The public artwork is a result of a collaboration between Public Art Agency Sweden and the organisation Folkets Hus och Parker.

Where does the game start and end?

Åsa Cederqvist’s work The Borderland is an imaginary landscape and a playful staging within Heby Folkets Park. The scenography of the work flows into a clearing with tall pine trees that lies just beside the park’s entrance. Together with the landscape and vegetation, The Borderland creates spaces and stages that are there to be used, including a portal with a brick path and new plants. Further into the clearing there is a stage and a group of abstract stainless-steel figures that mirror and reflect the surroundings. Drawing on the history and materials of the area, especially clay and brick, the artistic additions build on the many stories of the site.

The Folkets Park is given new play areas

The history of the Folkets Parks weaves together pleasure, popular adult education, summer nights, and the political discourses of the workers’ movement. When Åsa Cederqvist was invited to collaborate with Heby Folkets Park, she chose to develop a living work in which she could explore the role of play in our lives and shared spaces.

The Borderland activates a dormant part of the park. It reshapes the landscape and creates new dynamics. Here you can fashion your own games and experiences. Playfulness returns in the choices of material – in the reflections, the climbing plants, and in the areas where the material is perishable and will eventually wither away and become one with the clearing. In itself, a clearing holds the promise of play, leisure, and perhaps even magic.

The spatial dramatisation of The Borderland begins with the portal that marks a passage into an imaginary landscape. If you choose this path into the park, then playfulness and imagination may follow you out beyond the clearing, so that all of Heby Folkets Park is colourfully transformed into a narrative landscape of adventure, stories, and play. The portal becomes an alternative entrance into the Folkets Park, a way that directs the eye and the mind towards the layers of stories and games that have filled the park for a hundred years.

On Åsa Cederqvist

Åsa Cederqvist (b. 1975) was educated at Konstfack, College of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm and works with performance, choreography, video, sculpture, and installation. She is interested in everyday magic, rituals, and changeability – themes she explores in various materials and with a playfulness that offers us sensual experiences. For Heby Folkets Park, the site’s historical layers and natural environment are the primary focus.

The collaboration

Public Art Agency Sweden and the National Association Folkets Hus och Parker entered into a collaboration in 2020 to develop and produce public artworks for three of Sweden’s People’s Parks: those of Björneborg, Heby and Huskvarna. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ensuing social distancing, interest in and the need for our public parks intensified. The question of the Folkets Parks’ historical, contemporary and future roles as meeting places and stages for the local community took on a new urgency, at the same time as activities in the Folkets Parks were hit hard by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Local project groups were formed in each Folkets Park and were given a central role, both in determining the theme for each work and selecting which artist to invite. The artworks are unique and adapted to each respective location and association. All the works were completed and inaugurated in 2022.