Kostymskiss av Erik Axel Söderberg
Kostymskiss av Erik Axel Söderberg
Photo: Malin Karlsson, Scenkonstmuseet

Scenography as cultural heritage - new collaboration with Swedish Performing Arts Agency

Astrid von Rosen has been awarded a scholarship for the project "Scenography as a diverse cultural heritage: Eric Axel Söderberg's sketches".

”I was very happy when the chairman Stefan Bohman from the Musik- och teatersamlingarnas vänner vid Statens musikverk called and announced the happy news,” says Astrid von Rosen, researcher at the Department of Cultural Sciences and Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, University of Gothenburg.

Photo of Astrid von Rosen
Astrid von Rosen
Photo: Christine Sjöberg

It is a small scholarship, of SEK 10,000, but the collaboration with the Musikverket enables strategically important work with making scenography as a cultural heritage accessible.

Visual material and a digital exhibition

”I will connect visual material from the museum collections with results from my research on Eric Axel Söderberg,” says Astrid von Rosen. Söderberg was a skilled freelance scenographer. His work was appreciated by professionals and a broad audience at many different theaters in Sweden, but his legacy has since fallen into oblivion.

The collaboration will result in a digital exhibition, with a content that is easily accessible but scientifically grounded. Scenography is a sensuous cultural heritage, and designs are good at conveying a sense of the scenographer's ideas about the interplay between colour, form, space and moods.

Scenography in the collections

Astrid von Rosen will examine the Swedish Museum of Performing Arts Museum's material made by Eric Axel Söderberg.

”The designs, which are of very high quality, consists of set and costume designs, caricatures, and interior designs. Particularly exciting is a collection from the New Theater 1940-1953 where Söderberg's work to create a holistic theatre environment emerges,” says Astrid von Rosen.

The designs are art objects that activate sensory dimensions - imagine bodies in clothes in rooms full of scents, sounds, words, music, images, movements and moods. Designs can both communicate content and create sensuous experiences across time and space.

Photo showing sketch by Erik Axel Söderberg
Sketch by Erik Axel Söderberg
Photo: Malin Karlsson, Scenkonstmuseet

Collaboration with the Söderberg family

The project also includes a collaboration with Eric Axel Söderberg's children, Lisa, Lasse and Calle Söderberg. The children have submitted designs to the Performing Arts Museum, but also have unique material left in their private archives.

”I think of them as living archives for the history of scenography,” says Astrid von Rosen, who has collaborated with the Söderberg siblings for over ten years.