This year Galleri Pictor and Munka folkhogskola (a Swedish folk high school and adult education center) hosted Slow Art events several times during the year: once in April for Slow Art Day, and three times during the summer for art students taking summer courses at the center. The slow looking sessions all took place at Galleri Pictor and each session focused on a single artwork – Clara Lundgren’s “Det var här” (“It was here”).
Arriving participants were welcomed and given a worksheet (in Swedish) containing instructions for eye palming along with slow looking prompts.
These instructions have been translated into English below:
— Materials: Artwork, Worksheets and Timer —
1) Eye Palming is a technique to relax the muscles around the eyes. Warm your hands by rubbing them together for a few seconds. Close your eyes and press your palms lightly against your cheeks, then cup your fingers over your eyes and eyebrows. Breathe slowly and deeply for three minutes.
2) Open your eyes slowly and look at the artwork with the same focus you had on your breathing.
– What do you notice?
– What colors, compositions, shapes and materials do you see?
– Does the artwork remind you of an event in your life?
– Do you think others notice the same thing as you?
If your mind wanders, try to focus again on the image. Look at the artwork for 10 minutes.
3) Relax again. Take a few deep breaths and notice any further thoughts you have about the artwork.
4) Write down reflections on the worksheet. Do this for 10 minutes.
5) Finally, we reflect together on our experiences of the image and how it felt to do the activity.
During the slow looking session Charlotte Fällman Gleissner, art expert and teacher at Munka Folkhögskola, kept track of the time transitions using a timer.
For the closing group reflection, Galleri Pictor repeated their successful concept from last year of sharing tea and biscuits together while participants discussed their slow looking session. Some of the reflections from this section of the event are included on the Pictor Gallery blog (in Swedish).
We love the focus on a single art work (the original idea for Slow Art Day was to spend one hour with a single artwork).
We can’t wait to see what Galleri Pictor and Munka folkhögskola come up with for Slow Art Day 2024 – and throughout the year. We also hope that future events include tea and biscuits, especially if they save some for us!
– Johanna, Ashley, Phyl and Jessica Jane
For their first Slow Art Day (and as the first registered Slow Art Day in New Delhi), Gallery Art.Motif opened up the gallery to slow looking enthusiasts.
The event began at 11:00 am. Visitors were first welcomed by Joan Lueth, Slow Art Day Host at the gallery, and Gallery Owner and Director, Mala Anneja. We at Slow Art Day HQ want to point out that Lueth first brought Slow Art Day to China when she lived in Shanghai, and now, since moving to New Delhi, she has continued her evangelism by working with Anneja to bring it to the Indian capital.
The design of their day was simple: Lueth and Anneja invited participants to choose an artwork they felt drawn to. All participants spent time looking slowly at the art, and then after their slow looking, everyone came together over lunch to talk about the experience.
The Gallery primarily showcases contemporary abstract and non-representational art from both upcoming and established artists, leaving plenty of room for interpretations and impressions to share with others during the Slow Art Day discussion component.
We thank Leuth for continuing to bring Slow Art Day out around the world and can’t wait to see what Art.Mofif Gallery come up with for Slow Art Day 2024, and hope that other galleries in India will also be inspired to join the slow looking movement.
-Johanna, Phyl, Ashley, and Jessica Jane.
For their third Slow Art Day, Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex, England, invited visitors to look slowly at five artworks ranging from the twelfth-century to present day:
- Twelfth-century Romanesque stone reliefs depicting the Raising of Lazarus.
- Graham Sutherland’s “Noli Me Tangere” (1961), which shows the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Christ who she mistakes for a gardener.
- Marc Chagall’s stained-glass window (1977), illustrating Psalm 150.
- Michael Clark’s “Five Wounds” (1994), consisting of five tiny depictions of the wounds of Christ in locations around the Cathedral, and symbolising the Body of Christ: two at the West end (the feet),
two in the transepts (the hands), and one at the North side (the wound in Christ’s side).
- Anne Grebby’s “Enfleshed Word” (2023), a temporary installation in the St John Chapel. This is a triptych altarpiece. The central panel depicts Jesus being baptized by John. The side panels consist of abstract designs depicting the Holy Spirit.
After a brief introduction, participants looked at each work in chronological order for 10 minutes. After an hour, they met up for a second hour of discussion over tea and coffee with John Workman, Cathedral volunteer, who was able to give additional information about the artworks.
The event was fully booked with a maximum of 10 participants in each of two sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. John Workman noted that the small group size works the best in the Cathedral, and is appreciated by the participants.
Workman also sent us a quote written by Hans Feibusch, an artist who saw the importance of art commissioned for a sacred space and wrote this at the end of the Second World War:
But modern people come into church with the impressions of the outside world and all itsHans Feibusch
images…still quivering in their mind. Their beliefs are shadowy and elusive; they sit and
cannot focus their attention…But if there are paintings… their minds can fix on these,
quieten gradually and make their ascent into the world of which the paintings are only the
Hans Feibusch’s work “Baptism of Christ” (1951) hangs in the cathedral, though was not featured in the Slow Art Day event this year.
Workman himself wrote the following about hosting Slow Art Day:
Events like the Slow Art Day are ideal for a Cathedral like Chichester. It gives participants the
opportunity to spend time before the individual artworks. These artworks are in the location for
which they were created. They are there for a purpose; they have something to say, and I think that
the space itself has a part the play.
Chichester Cathedral is one of the three churches that participated in Slow Art Day this year, along with Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium who has been taking the lead in the Slow Art Day church movement. We hope they can continue to inspire more churches to participate, and look forward to what they come up with in 2024.
– Johanna, Phyl, Ashley, and Jessica Jane
For their first Slow Art Day, the 1 UV Gallery Studio in Saratoga, CA, invited visitors to a slow looking and discussion session with Larissa Dahroug, artist, Reiki Master teacher, and owner of 1 UV Gallery Studio.
Larissa promoted her Slow Art Day event by reaching out to local artists, government officials, and local museum employees in advance of the day.
She had a small audience for the day, but it was a good start.
And in June of 2023, Larissa hosted a Saratoga Chamber of Commerce event at her Gallery where she introduced the concept of slow business, the Slow Movement, and in particular Slow Art Day to the attendees.
She is also in touch with the leader of the Bloomington, Illinois Slow Art Day, Pamala Eaton, who has developed a 15+ gallery event in that city – which Larissa hopes to replicate in Saratoga.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we are excited to see another citywide movement develop, this time in Saratoga.
We look forward to whatever Larissa and the city of Saratoga come up with for Slow Art Day 2024.
– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane and Phyl