Catalogue: Frank Bowling Traingone

Mia Sundberg, Issue 114/12, p55, 01.12.2014
Mia Sundberg on a catalogue that has been designed to reflect the look of the rooms created for a show about a Guyana-born artist who trained in Britain
Edited by Mia Sundberg and Vera Celander, Art & Theory, €22, ISBN 978-91-981573-6-9

The catalogue Frank Bowling Traingone was created to accompany an exhibition of the same name at Spritmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden (until 6 April 2015). Spritmuseum is the home of the Absolut Art Collection, which was entrusted to the museum by the Swedish government in 2008.

Traingone is the second in a series of exhibitions dedicated to showcasing a solo exhibition by an artist in our collection.

Traingone focuses on the work of British artist Frank Bowling from the years 1979 to 1996, the middle period of his career. It is the largest European showcase of his work outside the UK.

Bowling, who began his career in figuration, is widely known for his large-scale, colour-infused abstract paintings, often informed by the principles of mathematics and symmetry.

Although he has remained an eternal searcher, forever questioning and experimenting with painting, it is this mid-career phase in which he firmly stands his ground. The artworks in this period are the work of a master.


The catalogue for the exhibition was designed by Patrick Waters, renowned for the design of many Swedish fine-art books, and includes full images of the 13 artworks that are on display. Its format reflects the design of the exhibition rooms created for the show.

In each room certain parts of the architecture are painted in gold to not only reference the brilliance present in each painting but also to reference the traditional gold frame imperative to painting in the days of the great influences on Bowling – Gainsborough and Turner.

In addition to showcasing the paintings in the exhibition, it was also important that the catalogue holds a clear and intelligent tone. The visitors to our museum are well-informed cultural consumers but not necessarily followers of contemporary art.

My short introduction at the beginning of the catalogue aims to clarify for visitors and readers what kind of a museum Spritmuseum is, and specifically, why a museum dedicated to the Swedish drinking culture has an art gallery among its exhibition rooms. It also provides a short overview of Bowling and why we chose him for our second exhibition dedicated to celebrating the Absolut Art Collection.

Complementary writers

The introduction is followed by two guest writers reflecting on the work in the exhibition: Mel Gooding, a leading voice on the work of Bowling, and Zoe Whitley, an expert on contemporary British art and art of the African diaspora.

They represent different genders, generations and cultural origins, and offer unique yet complementary points of view on the artist’s work. They also represent the two cities where Bowling has lived and worked throughout his career, London and New York.

Mia Sundberg is the curator at the Spritmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden