Maria E Harrysson is an artist based in Malmö, Sweden.

Educated at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm


"In my art I process the decaying world and the complex relation between man and nature – through drawings, objects, installations and film. I turn standard materials and cheap everyday objects into a melancholic story with several endings. I believe we need to speak and communicate in so many different ways to be able to get through. This is my reaction to the frustration I feel towards how we treat nature, at the same time as we admire it. How we cherry-pick the things we want and leave the rest to rot. I fear the future and that fear is my catalyst as an artist. I retell and reconstruct circumstances and news as an attempt to formulate a poetic and visual approach.

Drawing is currently the core of my artistic practice. I like the idea that the observer can sense the notion of duration and work in my drawings, and relate it to their own experiences. Through devotion and great care, I trust the simple drawn line to process the seriousness of life and the concept of time. Everyday I take in a massive amount of visual information, but the imagery of my drawings is produced solely in my mind. They are constructed memories and distorted prophecies. Compensations (2015) is a series of drawings in which organic shapes have been extracted from their natural contexts. The objects are cut with clean precision and straight incision to fit into place on the paper; metaphorically reminiscent of the violent impact of the human hand on the environment. Emergency Horizon (2016) is an individual drawing relating to the same theme. Here, the sea view – a common subject for romantic idealizations of nature – is disturbed by undrawn white spots. Something is missing. Something is about to disappear forever. In Civilization (2012) I created and exterminated a creature for the sake of vanity.

They say that in fifty years from now there will be more plastic than fishes in the oceans. I return to the horizon in Take Me to the Ocean (2016). In this piece, it is built up by plastic waste reconstructed into shells. Similar (but reversed) to how the oil we make plastic out of was once creatures in an ancient world. In Reconstruction (2015) I worked with used bricklayer tubs. I destroyed them and rebuilt them into huge shell formations that need crutches to be able to stand. The shell is a motif I keep coming back to. Simultaneously strong and fragile, it beautifully protects its inner content at the same time as it is so easy to destroy. It is an item that we pick, eat and collect without much reflection. It has also traditionally been considered a symbol for the “female”. For me it is an interesting symbol to use to illustrate how we, as humans, choose to impoverish that which we at the same time put on a pedestal. These thoughts are further explored in the work Don’t Think About It (2015).

When I Put My Blinders On (2016) is an ongoing work and my first exploration to do art using moving images. Here, I rest my gaze on short transient moments of beauty; an escapist strategy when the news in mass media is too disturbing to take in. It is a way of dealing with and reflecting on the power of images, through concepts such as disruption, perception and contrasts."