Joel Phersson; Erik Gardell; Lisa Ekström; Mats Håkansson; Axel Wolgers; Kristin Karlsson
The subject of the Skälsö installation is quite surreal in that they have been working within a defensive military site containing concrete military bunkers, located on an island in the Baltic Sea.
Initially it seemed in our view impossible to humanise the oppressive presence of these wartime symbols and transform them into places where human beings would feel happy to visit or to stay.
Their work shows an absolute confidence in the transformative powers of architecture. While many participants sought the sunlight, Skälsö embrace the dark, the shadows, the soft gloomy north light.
Their installation consists of big blocks of concrete sitting on the floor. This is the material that was removed from the concrete bunkers to make habitable spaces. These blocks have an eerie presence which contrasts with the wonderfully inventive spaces made by their absence. The exhibited material describes the engagement with the landscape and with the existing structures. The precision of the interventions releases a new positive energy. The spaces are made free through the process of excavation, opening up the solid worlds of the bunkers to the horizon, to the sky, to the air and to the light. The place is transformed by the power of architecture.