The Suitcase Series: Camilla Engman

by Janine Vangool
ISBN: 9780978326876

I developed a bit of a crush on Camilla Engman’s work from seeing it on the UPPERCASE blog, so I finally decided to treat myself and order a copy of the book.

The book is the sort of object which, if you are the kinda of book person who is also interested in artists, it is easy also develop a crush on. It is small (for an art book, it would be a bit extra-wide for a trade paperback) with rounded corners and a pleasingly rough brown paper cover. Then there are all the extras: postcards, a booklet about Engman’s fabulous dog Morran, and a soft fat rubberband to keep everything together. So it felt good in hand, and gave me a bit of a warm fuzzy happy I bought this feeling even before I read it.

It’s a casual book, not a stuffy monograph. Think studio visit, cup of tea and maybe a short walk in the woods time with the artist; it’s charming without being too cutesy. I liked that it is a look at how Camilla became an artist and what her daily practice is like, and shows what inspires her and all the different types of projects she works on. I didn’t find the writing all the strong, but for me the idea of the book itself (studio visit/introduction to an artist in book form) and the visual — Engman’s art — were really the point.

I am fascinated by Camilla Engman’s work. Her figures seem somehow off, disturbed, but in an inviting way that makes sense guided by some internal to her characters logic I can’t quite grasp. I want to spend time puzzling over the stories I can imagine from her paintings and illustrations. She lives and works in Sweden, but I hope that her work will be exhibited here so I’ll get the chance to see it in person.

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