In 1980, artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd created ‘Non-Violence’; a sculpture of a revolver with its barrel bent into a knot, made in memory of his friend and famous artist, John Lennon, who was tragically murdered in New York the same year. Since then, the sculpture has become a well known symbol for peace and a large scale sculpture of the gun can even be found outside the UN headquarters in New York.
Upon his death, Reuterswärd lifted copyright restrictions on the sculpture, on the basis that recreations and homages to his work continued to spread the same positive message. Many recreations in different shapes and sizes have since been unveiled, with the most famous collaborations coming from this years Affordable Art Fair Stockholm charity partner - Non-Violence Art Project Sweden! Their aim is to inspire, engage and prevent young people turning to violence and educate them on how to solve conflict in a non-violent way.
We’re delighted to announce that next in line to create his own version of the sculpture is the Swedish artist and rapper Petter – which will be on display at the upcoming fair. Petter’s sculpture design will sit alongside famous names like Sir Paul McCartney, Muhammad Ali and well as Yoko Ono, who have all created their own versions. We caught up with the multi-talented artist to get to know more about his inspiration and why this project is so important to him.
MEET THE LATEST NON-VIOLENCE ARTIST PETTER
Why do you feel this is such an important cause, and one you wanted to support?
It’s a great honour to create an artwork for the ‘Non-Violence’ sculpture, of course thinking about my predecessors, but most importantly because of the violent negative spiral that is influencing our society today. The project is incredibly important to raise awareness on this issue and take action to counteract it.
How would you describe your relationship to Reuterswärd’s original work?
Everyone has seen this piece, it is instantly recognisable and the message is really clear. I’ve long respected the knotted gun as a symbol, and the artwork feels as relevant today as other international, large work of art.
What are you aiming to communicate through your own version?
In my design I have tried to capture a forgotten part of Stockholm - the yellow tunnels that used to surround Slussen. When you were in the tunnels they made you feel like you were underground, in another world. Today, we know that the most violent behaviour on the streets come from these parallel underground societies and we need to take action to prevent this from spreading - through action, communication as well as economically.
How do you feel about exhibiting at Affordable Art Fair Stockholm?
I’m not nervous, just excited and proud that I’ve had the opportunity to do something like this.
Where did your interest in art come from?
My family - my dad was an architect and used to paint all the time, usually with my sister and I - she also became an architect. Originally, I thought I would become an artist and applied for art school, but I didn’t make the cut. Instead, I studied art history at Uppsala University. I love all kinds of art, but for me, there are few mediums that beat watercolour.
What do you find most challenging; writing good lyrics or mixing the perfect colour?
I grew up with art and turned to music and lyrics later, but for me, the creative release I get from writing lyrics is the same as when painting - so the transition was quite smooth. For example, I love how Lars Lerin (a famous Swedish watercolour artist) is both a writer and a painter. Like Lars, I don’t want to draw a line between these two worlds.
Do you remember the first artwork you ever bought?
Yes, ha! Some sketches of nudes by Peter Dahl which I bought from a friend.
And finally, who’s your favourite artist?
It’s hard to choose, but for me William Turner is ‘the don of watercolour’. Aside from Turner, I like Swedish artists like Lars Lerin, Arne Isacsson and Lena Cronquist. I love big brush strokes where imagination can take place.
We are incredibly proud and happy that Affordable Art Fair Stockholm will be the first place where Petter’s sculptures will be available for sale in three sizes (see credits for full information). Fair Director, Bernice Glimberg, says: “An important aspect of the fair is to support to charities, particularly those with an arty connection – and the partnership between the Non-Violence Art Project and Petter is the perfect match – we’re so excited that the first exhibition and release for sale will be at the fair.”
The Non-Violence Project Foundation is an educational non-profit organisation and by purchasing one of their limited-edition sculptures you will not only be taking home an iconic artwork, you will also be championing peace and social change. See Petter’s ‘Non-Violence’ sculpture in person, visit Stand F5 at Affordable Art Fair Stockholm, 11 – 14 October, Nacka Strandsmässan.
Petter, Non-Violence Sculpture, available in three sizes:
19 cm, edition of 499, 4,500 SEK.
40 cm, edition of 199, 12,000 SEK.
100 cm, edition of 29, 59,000 SEK.
Featured images from first to last:
Previous artists of the Non-Violence sculpture, Sir Paul McCartney and Yono Oko.
Petter's sculpture will be on display and for sale for the first time at Affordable Art Fair Stockholm.
Petter has long worked in watercolours, a shot from his studio.