Here you can see a photograph of Hardy Strid’s studio. This is where I spent several hours combing through his many paintings, drawings, and collages. I must admit, it felt a little intrusive. It was tangible to me that Hardy’s death was not entirely processed by the family. Johanna Strid, his granddaughter and my colleague, reminisced with me about Hardy. His warmth, his humor, and how she missed him. How during the last years of his life he was sickly, but on those days when he regained some of his vigor, he painted.
Hardy Strid was living when my colleague Erika Danker approached him about exhibiting at Halmstads Konsthall in the beginning of 2012. But he unfortunately passed before she could make a selection of works. And then, a new life was born. Erika went on maternity leave, so the exhibition was passed on to me. I was left to rummage among ghosts, sifting through the remnants of one life.
Before moving to Halmstad, I was not familiar with Hardy Strid’s work. So the first order of business was to familiarize myself with his career, a long career at that. This was a challenge as Hardy was not only a prolific artist, but he was intensely experimental. He was fearless in this regard. When looking through his paintings it appeared as if the works were created by a dozen different artists. It took time to consider the best route for the exhibition.
It was then I came into contact with Peter Johansson. Peter was a longtime friend and avid collector of Strid’s work. He invited me to visit him, and greeted me at the door with a wide grin. I concluded that he was keen on sharing his collection with me. That day Peter and I spent hours looking through his collection of over 200 works by Hardy. I understood that it would be impossible do a retrospective, and so I settled upon two important periods in Hardy Strid’s career, namely his time at Valand School of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Endre Nemes, and later with the Bauhaus Situationiste.
Despite all of the hours spent researching and scanning the Internet for insight into Hardy’s life, it has been meeting people like Johanna and Peter that has made my job worthwhile, people who had a meaningful relationship with the artist. Sadly, I would never get to connect with Hardy myself. But I have gained a sense of who he was by connecting with those he cared for.
We have received so many inquiries about the exhibition at konsthallen that I have begun to understand what Hardy Strid has meant to Halmstad. So many were inspired by him and influenced by his work. This was certainly evident at the opening. It was a record-breaking turnout at Halmstads Konsthall. So much so that I experienced a bit of stage fright!