Swedish sin

22 May–18 Jan, 2015

”Sweden – more pornography, more suicides, more alcoholism and more gonorrhoea every year”

Sign at a 1971 demonstration in London against the Swedish sexual education film Language of Love.

Welcome to an exhibition on images of Sweden, spirits and sex. In collaboration with artist Peter Johansson, we get to grips with lust and vice, liberation and shame – with ”Swedish sin”, both the myth and the phenomenon.

The show will guide you through a labyrinth of ”peepholes” containing films, photos, newspaper cuttings and objects from the history of Swedish sin – from scandalous fifties art films like ”One Summer of Happiness” and ”Summer with Monika” to stealthily situated state liquor stores, ration books, birth-control pills, sexual education publications and condom vending machines, right up to the late 70s and the erotic cult classic ”Fäbodjäntan”.

In the 1950s and 60s, Swedish sin was a global phenomenon. Sweden became an emblem of sin and moral decline. But while the rest of the world was up in arms about the Swedes’ lax sexual morals, the Swedes had their plates full being ashamed of something else altogether – namely alcohol, for during this period, Sweden had one of the most restrictive alcohol policies in the world.

Is Swedish sin still a going concern? How has it affected Sweden’s image, and Sweden’s image of itself? And does anybody really care, aside from the Museum of Spirits?