Resin-cast garments and magazine cut-outs: This is Karl Norin's ‘True Crime’ showcase

By Clare McInerney

Photo: Issues Gallery

It's not the latest Nordic noir or Netflix thriller, but the ‘True Crime’ exhibition at Stockholm's Issues gallery will certainly make you feel something

In the 2003 novel Isprinsessan (The Ice Princess) by renowned Swedish crime author Camilla Läckberg, artist Karl Norin found his name dragged through the mud. The narrative, which explores murder, secrets and shocking discoveries in the small town of Fjällbacka – where both Läckberg and Norin are from – the former calls on the latter’s name (amongst many other real names from the 1,000 resident community) to characterise a villainous participating in sketchy trafficking activity before meeting their demise.


Partly a response to this, the current ‘True Crime’ exhibition from the Stockholm-based artist – and his first solo at the city’s Issues Gallery – is, in the gallery’s words, ‘the exhibition equivalent of a page turner’. Akin to Läckberg’s novels, ‘True Crime’ opens a portal between reality and fantasy. “Karl and Camilla are radically different artists but they both play in a shadow world where fact and fiction begin to fuse,” says Lauren Johnson, curator at Issues. “This liminal space is something we can all relate to thanks to the dawn of social media where what is real and what is fake is often hard to decipher.”

Resin-infused garments, printed magazine cut-outs and analogue photographs on powder-coated aluminium. Photo: Issues Gallery

Norin, who has chosen to be represented by Issues as “they let me do whatever I want artistically”, has made strides in the art world in recent years, best known for his truly unique process of vacuum-pressing synthetic fur against glass in a resin cast. “I started making them as a joke for my graduation show at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2013,” Norin says of the works, freeze-framing faux fur in time. “My friends were painters and proud of their craft but I couldn’t identify as a ‘painter bro’ so I tried to find a way around painting paintings, by casting all sorts of interior textiles. Unfortunately I underestimated my talent and they became very beautiful and intriguing.”

Unfortunately I underestimated my talent and they became very beautiful and intriguing.

Karl Norin, artist

Resin-infused garments, printed magazine cut-outs and analog photographs on powder-coated aluminium. Photo: Issues Gallery

Resin-infused garments and printed magazine cut-outs on powder-coated aluminium. Photo: Issues Gallery

By working with the acrylic interpretation of one of the oldest materials used by man, animal fur, Norin’s signature vacuum-pressed faux furs are an example of the blurring between real and fake. Now, in ‘True Crime’, Norin presents vacuum-cast arrangements of garment fragment, paper clippings and a video installation – continuing to question our grasp on reality while also introducing themes of isolation, loss and identity.

As Johnson puts it, the genre of true crime is so wildly popular in contemporary culture as it presents “accounts where truth is stranger than fiction”, with podcasts, novels and docuseries fascinating the masses. Like Läckberg’s writing, Norin’s ‘True Crime’ draws us in and takes us down twisted paths with dead ends revelations, leaving us in the midst of the shadow. When pressed further on the meanings behind the exhibition pieces, Norin responds bluntly: “Art with a message is propaganda. I would love it if someone feels something.

Part of the installation at Issues Gallery in Stockholm. Photo: Issues Gallery

Karl Norin's ‘True Crime’ exhibition is running now until 9th March at Issues Gallery, Vattugatan 13 Stockholm.