Skulptur i folkhemmet : Den offentliga skulpturens institutionalisering, referentialitet och rumsliga situationer 1940-1975

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on public sculpture in Sweden 1940–1975. The principal aim is to present a representative picture of the phenomenon of public sculpture and to analyse its institutional prerequisites and meaning production, as well as examine how it operates in public space. From this point of departure, three fields of interest evolve: the ideological implications of public sculpture, public sculpture’s position in art history writing, and the notion of sculpture itself. The first chapter concerns the institutionalisation of public sculpture in the welfare state. The institutionalisation started as a taking over of bourgeois idealistisc cultural ideas. Complemented by demands for social reforms directed towards the artists as well as an agenda for cultural democracy concerning the public, this art ideology could be incorporated in the discourse of the welfare state. However, this process turned out to be a highly gendered power structure, as the practice of public sculpture became a male monopoly. The second chapter analyses the referentiality of public sculpture. An important issue is that the established notion of sculpture, defining modernist sculpture as the counterpoint of the traditional monument, is in need of critical revision. This argument is evolved throughout a discusison of the main tropes of public sculpture. The analyses in this chapter clearly show that ideology was invested in practice and meaning production as well as in the historiography of public sculpture. Conventional notions of gender and gender dichotomy as well as modernist art ideals have played important roles in this ideology. The third chapter discusses the importance of the spatial situation for the meaning production of sculpture. The analyses make clear that the relation between a sculpture and its spatial context is of an ambivalent character, as physical, social, and cultural aspects of site are of crucial importance to the interpretation of public sculpture.

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