SPIN (2023)
Maria Andersson
Public art commission for the sports building, Sannaskolan, Gothenburg
4.5 m x 17.7 m

Sgraffito work: Kulturvård Heberlein
Architecture: Krook & Tjäder
Client: The City of Gothenburg, Public Property Administration (Göteborgs Stadsdelsförvaltning)

Images: Krook & Tjäder

SPIN visualises the body's power and ability to set things in motion − spinning − with a physical exercise that many children and young people are familiar with: cartwheeling. A child throws a ball in front of them and lets the body follow in a rotation. Circular shapes, rhythm and movement echo the rounded facade and add life and activity to the building.

Sannaskolan is a valuable building in terms of its cultural history, and it has been important in my work to create a piece that harmonises with its distinct functionalist style. The purpose of the sports hall has also been a starting point.

I began by studying moving images of cartwheeling bodies, to understand how the body moves through a rotation. With me were thoughts of the British 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge's studies of movement patterns of humans and animals.

My observations led me to a series of body positions that I wanted to portray in one image that oscillates between being figurative and abstract. I was inspired by the use of sgraffito techniques in art nouveau, where flowers and leaves often coil symmetrically in decorative designs for facades, and also by modernist murals with a geometric terseness that matches the architecture of the school. The colour of the artwork complements the pale shade of the faςade, with a green tint that corresponds to the details of patinated copper found throughout the school buildings.

The stylised human figure in the picture leaves room for broad identification. A single body multiplies as the movement unfolds. The individual becomes a team effort. Through the chain of movements, bodies are alternately held up by legs and arms. Boundaries dissolve between body parts and their function, and between the body and the equipment (the ball). Spin expresses a desire and curiosity to discover and challenge our physical potential. At the end of the chain, the ball is picked up and can be passed on.