Sharing the opinion that conventions must be challenged to foster innovation, Grolsch and Unseen present the Grolsch Unseen Residency, a programme offering artists an opportunity to create a new body of work, to connect with the industry and gain international exposure. Working closely with a number of photography professionals, the winner of this award is housed in a capital city for two months, where they are encouraged to make work that reflects on the urban space in unconventional ways. In 2017, the residency was granted to Thomas Kuijpers (1985, Netherlands), one of Unseen Amsterdam’s premiering artist.
This year Kuijpers set out to investigate the progressive social policies for which Sweden is globally renowned. In his attempts to understand utopian ideas of equality and freedom in a local context, the visual artist began interviewing Stockholm’s inhabitants, collating their insights all the while. In his conversations, Kuijpers asked locals various questions about what their ideal world would look like if we try to look beyond the problems we’re facing, and more importantly, what route could take us there. As he discovered the friction that exists between reality and the best intentions of governmental policy, the scope of his research changed.
Over the course of two months, Kuijpers gathered as many opinions on the contemporary problems we’re facing in Europe as well as different visions for a better world. The artist investigated the friction that he had encountered on the streets of the Swedish capital using various visual approaches. By piecing together his recordings of conversations with locals, Kuijpers transforms monologues into an imaginary dialogue: creating a bridge between two ideas that come together, but subsequently divide and drift off into unknown territory.