You know how they say April showers bring May flowers? Well, how about April snow, sleet and freezing rain? That’s what we had here yesterday and I felt so sorry for the vendors at Junk Bonanza. I hope they still had a great showing!
Last Saturday we also had a few of those April showers, but it was too warm for snow or ice. That made it the ideal weather for a visit to the American Swedish Institute with Mr. Q, my sister and my niece.
The American Swedish Institute is housed in the Turnblad Mansion which was built between 1904 and 1908 for Swan and Christina Turnblad. Swan Turblad made his fortune in the newspaper business and by making good investments. Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, ‘The family moved into their new home in 1908. While it was their official residence, they spent most of their time living in an apartment across the street after 1915. After Turnblad’s wife died in 1929, he and his daughter moved into the apartment full-time and turned their former home into a museum.’
That kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Swan was descended from generations of Swedish farmers. Perhaps having come from such humble beginnings he felt out of place in such a massive home. Or maybe the house was simply too large to heat well during cold Minnesota winters. I don’t know, I couldn’t find an explanation as to why they didn’t live in the mansion much.
It definitely has a foreboding appearance in the gloom though, don’t you think? It reminds me a bit of the Haunted Mansion in Disney World …
Maybe that’s the real reason the Turnblad’s didn’t inhabit it for long, it’s haunted!
Currently (through April 28) the ASI is exhibiting surreal photography by Swedish photographer/visual artist Erik Johansson. If you are local you really should try to get there to see this exhibit. There are some amazing, thought-provoking pieces like this one called The Cover-Up.
Actually, pretty much every piece is amazing. I loved this one called Leap of Faith.
If you look closely at the yellow diamond sign on the staircase, it says ‘one balloon p.p.’. Don’t we all feel a little bit like that some days as we head off to work with our briefcase in hand and our one allotted balloon? Or is it just me?
My sister really liked a piece called Impact.
They were showing a short video explaining how Johannson creates his art (here’s a link if you’d like to watch the video for this piece). There is far more work behind these images than I realized.
As we were wandering around the exhibit there were moments when I couldn’t decide what I should be looking at, the photography or the mansion itself.
I was torn between looking up at the beautiful ceilings …
or checking out some of the 11 tile stoves imported from Sweden …
But in the end it was definitely the thought-provoking art that drew my eye.
I was totally fascinated by a piece called Demand & Supply.
Take a closer look at what is happening in that photo. Those backhoes are digging away at the very precarious structure that is holding up that entire city above. It definitely makes you pause for a moment to consider the implications.
I’ll leave you with this charming photo called Cumulus & Thunder.
I guess this explains where all of those clouds came from last weekend!
I’m sure glad they were there though because we had a really enjoyable time at the ASI. I’m not sure we would have chosen to go there had it been a gorgeous, sunny, spring day.
Be sure to check out Erik Johansson’s website to see more of his work (and definitely some better images of his photos than that ones I took above). And if you are local and you’re looking for something to do while the snow melts this weekend, I highly recommend checking out this exhibit before it closes at the end of the month.