What a Waste – Heidi Edström (ingentinget). 22–29 January 2021

Heidi Edström (ingentinget) – “What a Waste”
22–29 January 2021

Vernissage: Friday 22 January, 17–21, Performance 19.00
Opening hours:
Saturday 23 January, 13–18, ongoing Performance
Sunday 24 January, 13–18, Performance 15.00
Monday–Tuesday 25–26 January, CLOSED
Wednesday–Thursday 27–28 January, 16–19
Finissage: Friday 29 January, 17–21, Artist talk 18.30, Performance 19.00
The artist talk will be held in English.
Address: Detroit Stockholm, Roslagsgatan 21, 113 55 Stockholm.

Please note: Flat Octopus follows the restrictions and recommendations to prevent Covid-19 infections. The exhibition venue will be open for 2 visitors at a time. There will be art to look at in Detroit gallery’s huge shop window to keep you busy while waiting to go inside. Don´t forget your hats, scarves and gloves!
We will keep you updated about any changes regarding the shape of the exhibition should new restrictions be introduced.
Please, take precautions and stay at home if you feel ill.

We try to make this exhibition as available as possible for you if you cannot come to see it yourself. We will therefore live-stream the performances, the artist talk and provide a filmed guided tour with the artist and curators on Facebook. See the dates and times above and make a note in your calendar. Looking forward to meeting many of you on this platform!



Heidi Edström (ingentinget) is a Swedish artist based in Stockholm who has a persistent obsession with lumps, bumps, tubers, humps, knobs, knots, hunches, rotters and other suspicious or undesirable existences, all of which fit within the same word in Swedish – knöl. Working with performance art, sculpture, installations, photography and drawing, Edström has been exploring the concept of the knöl both as an undefined shape and in a wider context since 2010. She is currently conducting her BFA at Konstfack in Stockholm and is a co-founder of the experimental performance group Knölkollektivet.

Exhibition text

Flat Octopus have known the work of Heidi Edström (ingentinget) for many years. Both in her initiative Knölkollektivet and as a stand-alone artist she has performed pieces that are thought-provoking without being too obvious, displaying great feats of physical and mental endurance that simultaneously evoke repulsion, humour and beauty. Similarly to her performative work, Edström’s sculptural practice seeks to embody the bumpy, lumpy and slimey outgrowths which corrupt all kinds of smooth surfaces of the world – the knöl

Human beings are throughout their lives surrounded by knölar – literal or metaphoric. Skin, infrastructure, body shapes, cityscapes, relationships and mental states that we want smooth and undisturbed are constantly interrupted by the unwanted presence of the knöl. Again and again we try to flatten the knöl, carefully or violently, only to be left with a bumpy surface. The absence of perfection and the stubborn remnants of the knöl indicate the impossibility of an ideal world. Something we often forget is that the presence of the knöl leaves us with a dilemma: we can choose to either eliminate the anomaly or decide to learn to understand and accept it; to live symbiotically with it. Whichever we choose, in Edström’s world the unwanted and uncomfortable always hold the potential of beauty.

Edström’s previously fleshy looking pieces in silicone have recently taken a back seat in her artistic process in favour of more industrial production methods and materials, such as plastic molded in vacuum chambers and an extensive use of trash materials like plastic bags. Made entirely of waste plastic, the new pieces in this exhibition emulate the trash we expect to find within each knöl that we encounter in our lives. The contents of the knöl are exposed and the clearly man-made materials echo humanity’s history of artisanry and production. Once each product has served its purpose to make life easier, cleaner and more efficient, it turns into a knöl; something that sticks out and needs to be disposed of. 

Human beings are always the creators of their own ideals and thus also of what they consider to be unwanted. In contrast to Edström’s industrial artworks, her crocheted pieces reflect upon this tendency and transform lumps of waste into warm, carefully enveloped treasures, inverting the normative view of what is supposed to be cared for and valued. Additionally, the hollow vacuum-molded plastic sculptures shown in the exhibition seem to tell us another story, one about humanity’s determination in creating at the same time new opportunities and boundaries for the knöl. We create containers to collect, limit and hold the movement and expansion of various organic processes while simultaneously constructing artificial incubators for some forms of the knöl in the name of scientific progress. Synthetic containers prohibit decomposition of or damage to the tissue we want to research, preserving and nurturing it in order to be subject to long-term scientific scrutiny.

Heidi Edström’s world of knölar is visceral and ambiguous. In her diverse body of work there is room both for the repulsive, the beautiful, the joyful, the alien and at the same time relatable. Edström makes use of the aesthetic form of malignant, inhuman tumors but shapes them meticulously from non-biological materials and with a firm and distinctly human hand, effectively putting an emphasis on our relationship with that which we wish to erase from our ideal state of existence.

The exhibition is curated by Franziska Sperling & Paulina Granat.

Special thanks goes to Detroit Stockholm who are hosting the exhibition in their venue at Roslagsgatan 21.

Detroit Stockholm is an artist-run collective that provides a free platform and a gallery for artists from various disciplines, hosting nomadic performance art festivals, music and art happenings and multimedia exhibitions. It offers a project space for international guest artists as well as its own members. Detroit Stockholm houses twenty-five studio spaces for a variety of artists.


With support from Stockholm Stad