Absolut Art Collection: Photo

27 Apr–6 Oct, 2019

Big, diverse, boundless – as always with the Absolut Art Collection. The theme of our 2019 summer exhibition is photography. We’re exhibiting 60 photographic works from the collection, taken by 23 internationally known photographers from the worlds of art and fashion. The photos reflect an era of techno and supermodels in the wake of the Cold War and the infancy of the internet. They range from the ultra-glamorous to the decidedly louche. The exhibition runs from 27 April until 2 October 2019.

Among the works exhibited are Helmut Newton’s iconic fashion photos from Skåne in the summertime, taken in the shadow of the distillery, and Herb Ritts’ chilly shoot at the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi. For the first time, we are exhibiting the complete collection of Annie Leibovitz’s celebrity portraits for Vanity Fair’s millennium edition. Her models don’t treat the brand with anything like fawning reverence. Another highlight is work by Swedish photographer Dawid, who didn’t even use a camera. To make his evocative photograms, he placed the Absolut bottle directly on the photo paper and exposed it to light.

Lest we forget, as Dr Niclas Östlind, PhD in Photography and an Instructor at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, puts it, “Today photography is an accepted branch of art, but this has not always been the case.”

The selection from the Absolut Art Collection feature photos from 1990–2004. A time when photography was making its present felt in the art galleries, and the boundaries between fashion, advertising and art were growing less and less clear.

Absolut Art Collection
The Absolut Art Collection consists of 850 works created by 550 artists between 1986 and 2004. In paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, furniture and objets d’art, each artist created their own interpretation of the same object, a vodka bottle. Most of the artworks were reproduced in advertisements for Absolut Vodka in print media around the world.

When the Swedish state sold the Absolut Vodka brand to France’s Pernod Ricard in 2008, it determined that the art collection was of cultural and historical significance and would not be included in the sale. Instead, its home is now here at Spritmuseum.

More details on the collection here and join our curator Mia Sundberg on a tour of our art archives.