In the beginning of 1900s PJ Carlsson opened a specialist carpentry workshop which was supplying handmade decorations of wood for the furniture factories in Tranås. PJ Carlsson’s Bildhuggeri lasted almost a century. After PJ, his sons took over the family brand and expanded and enriched it with the contribution of other master crafts people. Interestingly the place became a hub for people who are interested in all kinds of creative production since PJ himself took lessons of decoration and design from Hermann Norrman, the famous painter that lived in Tranås.
At PJ Carlsson’s Bildhuggeri there was lot of woodcarving business and artistic debates took place along with the accompaniment of music. The wood sculptors’ studio created an intellectual circle for the town for a long time, it was always at the threshold; somewhere between professional and amateur. The place provided a sheltered space to think, work and discuss, the studio presented another kind of creative space, somewhere between arts and crafts, art and labor for artists and enthusiasts. Bildhuggarverkstad was not a place for individualism but rather had a sense of unity situated in a small town where the opportunities were limited. The people at Verkstan were not limited solely by one form of discipline or task but they were carpenters, artists, artisans, thinkers and musicians. The people made the place. The space today manifests itself as a kind of time capsule, a heritage site where things have mostly remained as they were before, except for the people who were once present.
After almost forty years since its closure the place is still preserved in its present condition thanks to the protection of the Tranås munipality together with the wishes of the building’s previous owner Lars Gärskog. The workshop with its sepia colors appears almost frozen in time with outdated working tools and the silence that surrounds it. It also remains surprisingly unknown to the local community even though it is quite easy to visit the place.
Upon reading Torbjörn Skobe’s book Inte Bara en Verkstad, Seher Uysal started to research the workshop and interviewed some of the last remaining links to PJ Carlsson’s Bildhuggeri. She has collected information on some of the many artists who worked at Bildhuggarverkstad, collected legends about the place, examined some of the replicas and decorative objects that were produced at the workshop and more importantly has been exploring the place as a site of local heritage.
Bildhuggarverkstad or A Story in Six Chapters in turn questions the issue of heritage and space and its maintenance. How do we deal with cultural heritage? Do we need to turn everything into a mausoleum? Which issues and topics make a site relevant to our cultural history?
The artist will present a series of one day installations in the space in situ, each forming a chapter in the the project:
Site as Heritage or The Time Capsule
Reimagining the Workshop or People Make the Place
Riksspelman or Åke Plays Polska
"Probably” Lill-Arthur or Amor Vincit Omnia
Copies or Fritt efter John Bauer
Torbjörn Skobe or the Chronicler
The installations tell the unfolding story of the workshop and investigate different issues about the site. The first three site specific installations are scheduled to be shown in Spring and the latter three during the Summer 2019. The small studio will be made accesable for public view on the designated days.