Joakim Eneroth

1969 Stockholm, Sweden


Joakim Eneroth is multi-disciplinary artist, born in Stockholm in 1969. His varied and experimental techniques propose artworks that are both contemplative and poetic. This young artist grew up in an environment of a political protest, within a family of anarchists and socialists, a far cry from consumer society and the influence of publicity. An adept of meditation, Joakim Eneroth conceives the photographic medium as a transcription of mental reaction.

The emblematic series that brought the Swedish artist to fame is titled Without End (1999-2003). It illustrates his multiple journeys, like an intimate photographic diary. The work is unified through the theme of awareness of the world, which the photographer declines according to the different meanings that it may take on. This work, honored by the Voies Off Prize 2005 at the festival of Arles, has brought him international recognition.

In this same year, at the Noorderlicht Photofestival in the Netherlands, Joakim Eneroth presented simultaneously Waiting and Testimony, an anti-torture piece, the works of which form part of the Moderna Museet collection in Stockholm and the Deichtorhallen collection in Hambourg.
The series Testimony was published by Art and Photographs UK in 2008.

In 2009, Joakim Eneroth began his series Swedish Red illustrating the facades of traditional Swedish houses, windowless and fenced off by a hedge. Joakim Eneroth creates a visual barrier and proposes an inaccessible image, with no possible opening to the outside world. The artist depicts our need for security and our desire for control in a world that is globalized and encircled by news reports that force us to open our eyes to a planet threatened by crisis and war. Eight works in this series are in the Tate Modern collection in London, two in the Dallas Museum of Art collection, and also part of the Franks-Suss collection.
Publication released by the STEIDL publishing house in 2013.

In 2010, Short Stories of the Transparent Mind is exposed for the rst time in Paris. This work, articulated around images and texts, explores the nature of the mind from a philosophical point of view. The striking series of photographs illustrates the visual experience in our perception, before our mind becomes in uenced by its own judgment of good and bad, virtue and evil.

This series is in the collection of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris, of the Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York.
Published by Powerhouse Books New York in 2010.

The recent photographic work Whispering Void, inspired by this same theme, proposes photography works, tridimensional photographic installations and levitating sculptures. Each of them illustrates the practice of meditation to dissolve the oscillations of the mind.
Book published by Arvinius+Orfeus in 2017.

Joakim Eneroth lives and works in Stockholm in Sweden.

Swedish Red

By Larisa Dryansky, 2007


Conscience and consciousness are the themes that unite Joakim Eneroth’s protean work. With each new series, the photographer explores another mode of awareness of the world. Thus, for instance, the stream of consciousness of the photographic diary Without End, which first established the Swedish artist’s reputation; the political consciousness of the series Testimony, which is a manifesto against torture; and, finally, the bad conscience that quietly lurks within the « comfortably secure » houses of Swedish Red. The Dutch paintings of the Golden Age fixed the perfect image of the righteous, well-to-do burgher, peaceably enjoying wealth amassed with a clear conscience. The Scandinavian homes depicted by Eneroth belong to a world that is not so distant from the world of these Protestant merchants for whom morality rimed with prosperity. But in today’s context of globalization, with the constant flood of information making it impossible to completely close our eyes to the rest of the universe, and with the fear of terrorism reigning supreme, the serene sense of security that belonged to the respectable Netherlanders of yore has definitively vanished. The security illustrated by Eneroth’s pictures is not synonymous with content: it is, for the most part, defensive.

Sweden passes for a model society. The Swedish welfare system is, despite recent modifications, famous for ensuring all the country’s citizens with a reasonably comfortable life style. There is much to admire in the safety net guaranteed by the system. But, as Eneroth points out, there is also something troubling about the fact that security is for most Swedes « almost a religion. » By focusing exclusively on the blind facade of houses, Eneroth reveals  the invisible wall built around the Swedish way of life: a fortress, no less powerful for being virtual.

Red houses are a part of Swedish folklore. Seen through Eneroth’s fiercely ironic eyes, these quaint buildings turn into monuments of kitsch. Their sham picturesque look—these are all recently built houses—brings to mind the American suburban tract houses documented by Dan Graham in the 1960s. In IKEA Sweden just as in Pop America, history and tradition are reduced to mere styles, fancy wrappers of commercial dreams. Graham’s Homes for America came in a variety of poetically labeled shapes and colors: « Cape Cod, » « Ranch, » « Seafoam Green, » « Colonial Red. » In the same way, the houses portrayed by Eneroth beautify their cookie cutter forms with coats of Falu red, a type of paint based on a pigment from copper mines, which has been in use in Sweden since the sixteenth century.

Eneroth’s fundamental sense of irony also applies to styles of photography. The persistently frontal point of view of the photographs fits in with a very popular genre of contemporary photography. This tendency is clearly derivative of former examples. Although Walker Evans might first come to mind, Ed Ruscha is its real model. But the younger photographers seem to have mostly forgotten the wry humor of their predecessor. Eneroth adopts this fashionable approach but does not make it his own. Rather it is for him an experiment in working in the manner of. Perhaps as a result of his upbringing in an anarchist family, or of his practice of Buddhism and its teachings about detachment, the highly versatile photographer is not committed to any style and gladly changes his approach with each new series.

Seen together, however, the images of Swedish Red reveal a darker, more ominous side. The repetition of the geometrically-shaped, monochromatic facades brings out the sharp edges of the roofs and the clear-cut angles of the houses. Contrasting with the exuberance of nature in spring or summer, or with the softness of a snow field, the minimalist architecture of the houses takes on a slightly sinister aspect.

An installation artist as well as a photographer, Eneroth recently produced a piece using a fragment of a brick wall covered with a blind. The title of this hostile looking work provides the key to the chilling message mutely conveyed by the blank facades of the series Swedish Red: « Not Seeing. Not Responsible. »

Short Stories of the Transparent Mind 

by Bill Viola, 2010


Joakim Eneroth’s new work of images and texts, “Short Stories of the Transparent Mind”, is the vivid record of a personal journey to uncover the fundamental emptiness that lies beyond and beneath our day-to-day experience of the world. Punctuated by stark and sometimes personally revealing texts, he presents us with a series of striking photographs – naked, vulnerable figures standing in a nocturnal landscape; empty rooms miraculously animated by light and mind; a jumble of footprints, tracks, and vacant streets leading nowhere; signs emptied of their meaning, rooms emptied of their contents and individuals emptied of their personas and limitations.

Eneroth’s spiritual practice, and his camera’s trained inner eye, allows him to peel back the layers of the self and the external surfaces that obstruct our inner vision. The result is a profound meditation on the key Buddhist concepts of Impermanence and Emptiness in contemporary life, and the fullness that emerges within us when our inner mirror is finally polished and the clutter long blocking our vision is cleansed. Joakim Eneroth has said that his goal is to reach the point when “the story line fades away” and we arrive at “a moment of being no one going nowhere.” His is a journey we all should take.


Whispering Void – Joakim Eneroth

Whispering Void – Joakim Eneroth

30.00 €

Author: Sun Yata

Clothbound: Hardcover

Dimensions: 26x22cm

Language: English

Publisher: Arvinius+Orfeus Publishing

Print date: 2017

ISBN: 978-91-87543-66-1