I had the opportunity to know Mikael Olsson‘s work in September 2009, when I was in Göteborg, Sweden, for a job trip. I had a couple of hours before taking the airplane back to Italy, so in the meantime I visited the Hasselblad Foundation, that is in the very center of Göteborg. My hope was to see the New Nordic Photography exibition, that helds every year, but I was even luckier, because I could see a preview of “Södrakull Frösakull“, a wonderful photographic work that was under installation in that moment.
Södrakull Frösakull: Artipelag, Stockholm 2012. FK09.2004 ©Mikael Olsson

I was deeply impressed by the exibition: the pictures are an experience of both exploration and curiosity, of formal integrity and freedom. I would add that I felt a very “swedish” look, with a great attention to surfaces, colour choices and with a calm and suspended atmosphere.

“Södrakull Frösakull” is a double concept on two architectural works by Bruno Mathsson, who was one of the leading designers in Sweden.
Frösakull is the first one: a house that Mathsson both designed and lived in. Mikael Olsson has directly interacted with the remains of the house, living in its spaces and taking pictures from inside.

Södrakull Frösakull. FK01.2000 ©Mikael Olsson

Södrakull Frösakull. FK03.2003 ©Mikael Olsson

The second one is Södrakull, a residence which Olsson has depicted from the outside, without having access to the house, using a voyeuristic approach, often through half-drawn curtains and playing with reflections.

Södrakull Frösakull. SK12.2002 ©Mikael Olsson

Södrakull Frösakull. FK04.2004 ©Mikael Olsson

In certain aspects, like the use of ambient light, the interplay between full and empty and the use of “thresholds” as compositional strategy, Mikael Olsson reminds me to some works of the Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943 – 1992).

The publication “Södrakull Frösakull – Mikael Olsson” with texts by Beatriz Colomina, Hans Irrek and Helena Mattsson was released by Steidl Verlag (2011).

Mikael Olsson’s works can be viewed at the author’s website:



  1. Tank you for letting me know Olsson’s work, which I totally ignored.
    More than the Södrakull Frösakull series (somewhat too “soft” for my taste), I deeply appreciate his Re-representation of buildings, both for its visual result and the strong idea it is based on.

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