Jacob Dahlgren’s work is concerned with a dialogue between the authoritative singularity of pure formal abstraction and its position within a variable, complex and social shared culture. Dahlgren’s repetitious collections of ubiquitous and ordinary objects, often domestic, industrially manufactured; stand in their gestalt form as proxy for High Modernist Abstract Painting and for all of the ideological territory that Twentieth Century Art Theory has staked out for it. The contributing objects, however, signify a collective and human aspect of society, each representing an individual choice, to be used or consumed in a unique way by its consumer. Together these objects stand for the group or community, and as such they become democratic rather than authored. This is evident in Dahlgrens’s social practice – a series of performance events around the world involving local communities – as well as in the large-scale sculptural installations in the public space for which he is well known.


This relationship with everyday life is one of the pillars of Dahlgren’s practice. Dahlgren constantly seeks geometric and abstract patterns in the surrounding world and processes the mundane and quotidian into art. His own life is inseparable from his work in a tangible way, for his project Peinture Abstraite he has worn striped t-shirts for the last twenty years and plans to do so for the rest of his life, as a living and on-going exhibition, sometimes with external curators invited for a couple of weeks. 


Dahlgren was born 1970 in Stockholm where he lives and works. He received his MFA from the Royal College of Art in 1999. He has exhibited widely in institutions such as Trondheim Kunstmuseum (2023), Stavanger Kunstmuseum (2020-2021), Copenhagen Contemporary (2019), Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch (2017), MAGASIN – Centre National d’Art Contemporain (2016), KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2013, 2011 and 2010), Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2010, 2013), Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (2010), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2011) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006). In 2007 he represented Sweden at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

Installation shots