About – Moa Sjöstedt


You see, by asking you to come close now, I’m not expecting you to understand anything really; I’m simply asking you to stay with me in the realm of the ineffable for a short while”.(1)

Moa is an artist. Her work deals with visceral, physical and affective aspects of life. She spends most of her time trying to make (those aspects of) life tangible through drawing, painting and writing. Moa also made a sculpture once, and I think she might be fantasizing about making a film (she’s annoyingly secretive about what goes on in her head). I strongly suspect that most of Moas practice is centered around an interest in subjectivity. But as you probably know: the center never holds very well.(2) Anyway, Moa is at least currently exploring what kinds of subjectivities the members of a lighthouse keeping family developed throughout history on some remote islands situated on the Swedish coast. One of the many offsprings from that process so far is a character; a character who engages in written as well as visual language; a character who’s very eager to master the skill of (re)constructing and preserving memory. (Everything I’ve mentioned so far is, of course, some kind of fiction. But with that said: Moa really does come from a lighthouse keeping family, so I’m pretty sure that the border between reality and imagination is somewhat permeable in her case). You should really ask Moa about the lighthouses! She loves giving lectures about giants’ kettles in smooth granite rock, seaweed swimming, or an emptiness filled with both security, kinship and imagination, as well as exposure, loneliness and duty. (Just avoid any questions about the relationship between literature and art, or perception and imagination, and you’ll be fine). 

I think that’s it really. Moa is Swedish, by the way. Quite a stereotypical Swede, to be honest. She has previously collaborated with artist Hanna Wildow, Katarina Bonnevier and art & design collective MYCKET at institutions such as GIBCA, ArkDes and Unga Klara (SE). Her work has been presented in See you next Tuesday (CH), Kunsthaus Baselland (CH), Project Space M54 (CH), Hangmen Projects (SE), Detroit Gallery (SE), Nordic Summer University (LIT), the Swedish Embassy (USA) as well as in the public space exhibition ”Inklusiv Arlesheim”(CH). Moa moved to Basel in 2019 for very romantic reasons. In 2022 she graduated from the MA-program in Fine Arts from HGK.

1) The quote is from a draft written by Moa herself (in which she tried to explain her artistic practice, but failed). It draws inspiration from an interview with the writer Claire Louise Bennett, whom Moa deeply admires and wishes was her best friend. Moa also very much appreciates the work of artists Nina Bondeson, Éva Mag and Elina Birkehag, as well as writers Tove Jansson, Nina Bouraoui, Claudia Rankine and Olga Tokarczuk. (To name only a very few of those who Moa speaks with through her practice).

2) Moa apologizes very much for her embarrassing tendency to misuse some of the heaviest lines ever written by dead white men. But since the day she realized that most of her artistic and literary companions are not men after all, she began to include some of the most brilliant ones of them in her work for the sake of justice. There are so many great and inspiring men out there after all!