Retention was presented outdoors in a central and public location in Rejmyre July 27th – September 13th as a part of Rejmyre Art Lab´s DeTox – Clean it up! Research project in Rejmyre, Sweden. 

The project is a part of a ongoing collaboration between Erna E Skúladóttir and Karin Blomgren. 

Rejmyre Art LAB’s Center for Peripheral Studies (RAL) is an artist-run organisation and a long- term, place-based research project that creates spaces for making, reflection and intensive exchange. They are under a three year period running the artistic research project “DeTox- Clean it Up!”, a site-specific project dealing with the toxic dumpsite of the local glass factory in Rejmyre, Finspång municipality, Sweden.

“For hundreds of years, the Reijmyre Glasbruk has produced glass objects and sold the ‘finished products’ while keeping some of the leftovers in piles behind the factory. At first the piles were clearly separate from the surrounding landscape but with time they merged with and became the landscape. The focus of our work is on the current situation in Rejmyre, where the local authorities have been engaged in a process aimed at investigating and dealing with the piles of waste and the arsenic and lead contaminated soil behind the glass factory.” – Daniel Peltz, research leader

Toxins from the historic waste behind Rejmyre glass factory is caught in the wetlands below. At the moment the wetlands prevent heavy metals from reaching lake Hunn, the freshwater source of Rejmyre. Plants accumulate the toxins in roots, stem and leafs. In the wetlands sedimentation, sand and vegetation work together as a filtering sponge soaking up the contamination. But what happens when the climate changes? If the summers become  longer and dryer or the autumns and  winters get more and more rain? We can speculate that these changing conditions might well release what this natural sponge now holds and  mobilise the heavy metals again, endangering the drinking water. 

In Retention, rain water is collected and diverted into a system, activating the painting of the piece. 

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