I have always been an observer ever since I was a child, a person who stands on the sidelines and registers what is happening.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father, who was never violent, but also never trustworthy. I had to watch his movements like an eagle, ”can I trust this?”. At the same time, he was loving and lifted me on his shoulders, so it was Yin and Yang.

I observed my surroundings (spyed on it) and based on changes in people’s facial expressions and body language, I wove stories about what was going to happen. Completely fascinated, I could watch people in, for example, restaurants and in bus queues… The man withdraws his hand and quickly turns his head away, the coldness between the couple in the restaurant grows, now they will go their separate ways … ”Stop staring Gunilla!”.

I have continued with this outside-in view in my works. It has been a way for me to try to understand what it means to be human.

Why we argue and position ourselves, war, destroy and at the same time are capable of creating the most beautiful things in architecture, art, literature, food, everything …

And – that we can love and share and at the same time get so pissed off at the neighbor who left laundry behind in the laundry etc.

My works are made with love for this imperfect creature. No … not only love but also with sadness and anger.

”Don’t touch the button!!” and I laugh, because most of us will touch the button just for that reason.

Our desire to be seen ”See me!” To be the center of the world. Not in its center, but the very center itself. This makes our actions so short-sighted.

We care for ourselves and those close to us, even if it is at the expense of others … Therefore, I do not believe that we can plan and carry out actions that benefit future generations, if it is at the expense of ourselves. So how will our species survive?

Basically everything I do touches the concept of man in some way.

Man this beautiful, wonderful, imperfect and terrifying creature.

Gunilla Leander
Stockholm 12 April 2024


Several parts of this text refer to video, photos and audio works I have made;
Primates, All Under, Bodily Signs, Handover; Transparent, Falling … etc.
• In the installation Pathfinder there were warning signs (which no one obeyed) warning people to walk a path.
• In the installation Noise Gate, lines of text from the Internet were read with the words ”Who am I?”, ”This is me!”
etc etc…

Right now I’m thinking about how to transfer these thoughts to my paintings.