Ljusbacken (Publication)

Published on the occasion of the exhibition The Room Is the Third Pedagogue, Konsthall C, Stockholm, 29 October – 18 December 2016.

by Lars Bang Larsen

Much about Ljusbacken is the stuff of legends. Some of them tell that the hill in southern Hälsingland, where the large white building is perched, used to be an execution site and the location of a speakeasy and a brothel. Later it became a retirement home, until Stockholm hippies in the early seventies acquired the property and a plot of land around it. The commune came to crystallise the hippie and progg movements, along with their at times extreme blends of political militancy and lifestyle experiments, including primal scream therapy, yoga and meditation, drugs and sexual emancipation. Every country had a commune like this: in Sweden it was Ljusbacken. The Rolling Stones were rumoured to have visited here — just as John and Yoko visited Thylejren in Denmark — and like West Berlin’s Kommune 1, Ljusbacken for a short while epitomised a national countermodel to ‘straight’ society and the nuclear family.

Joanna Lombard’s photos of Ljusbacken, her family home from 1974 to 1983, are disenchanted, almost tabloid in their starkness. ‘Here they harmed a child!’ a newspaper headline above one of them might read. The photos, taken between 2008 and 2012, laconically unravel the rainbow and cast instead the commune’s interiors and exteriors as so many haunted memory sites, while the commune in better days leaps back with sunny group shots of smiling people.

All photographs are by Joanna Lombard (2008–12) except for the inside cover, by Björn Skålén (1977) Appropriated ‘Parabola’ images originally from AAO: Actions-Analytical Organization for Conscious Life Praxis, The AA Model,vol.1(Nuremberg: AAVerlag,1977) Essay by Lars Bang Larsen

Copy-editing by Danko Szabó
Design by Rikard Heberling
Printed by TMG Sthlm
Published by Arvinius+Orfeus Publishing
With support from Längmanska kulturfonden, Gunvor Göranssons kulturstiftelse, Ivar och Anders Tengboms fond and Konsthall C

Thanks: Fredrik Ehlin, Sarah Guarino Werner, Björn Larsson, Love, Vincent and Niki

Published on the occasion of the exhibition The Room Is the Third Pedagogue, Konsthall C, Stockholm, 29 October –18 December 2016

Ljusbacken has previously been shown as an installation in the exhibitions The Society Without Qualities, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, 2013, and I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: The Psychedelic Salon, Fafa Gallery, Helsinki, 2008.