UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hon-en katedral : the mechanical bride stripped bare in Stockholm, even Andersson, Lars Patrik


This thesis aims to uncover an intricate relationship between Cold War politics and culture in Sweden during the mid-sixties by examining discourses surrounding a sculptural assemblage entitled Hon-en katedral [She-a Cathedral]. Hon was a 23 meter long, 6 meter high, and 10 meter wide sculptural assemblage in the form of a giant and pregnant female figure. It was constructed during the summer of 1966 at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet by the American born Niki de Saint-Phalle, Jean Tinguely of Switzerland, and the Swedish artist Per-Olof Ultvedt, and was entered for a period of three months by a continuous crowd that lined up to see and experience the spectacle She embodied. Once inside this three-story building the visitor encountered a Coca-Cola bar, planetarium, lookout tower, slide, tunnel of love, several “Fake Paintings” in an art gallery, a number of automatic vendors for various kinds of goods, service personnel, a small plant for the production of broken glass, a public telephone, a gold-fish pond, a movie theatre showing a soundless Greta Garbo movie, and much, much more. I argue that this work occupied a central position in debates over art and technology. I also consider how and why a small museum located in the relatively marginal city of Stockholm became an important centre for international avant-garde art during the 1960’s. Hon, I argue, represents a shift within the Swedish museum’s exhibition and collecting activities away from an American Neo-Dada and Pop Art that was understood in relation to American foreign politics. In an attempt to reveal constructions of identities on personal, national and international levels, this thesis also seeks to understand the gendered and sexualized landscape on which these political and cultural discourses were played out.

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