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Boy on the Wall
  • Artist Jens S Jensen (Swedish, 1946 - 2015)
  • TitleBoy on the Wall
  • Dating 1973
  • Technique/MaterialGelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions29,5 x 40,5 cm
  • AcquisitionPurchase, 2016
  • CategoryPhotograph
  • Inventory NumberGKM 2016-014
  • Display StatusNot shown in the museum
Signatures etc.
Exhibition History
A boy hangs nonchalantly from one hand at the top of a concrete wall in this photograph from a newly constructed housing complex in the era of the Swedish so-called “million program”, a nationwide utopian development project in the 1960s. He smiles cockily at the camera. The concrete is gray and a bit dreary, but the photograph also shows confidence and hope for the future. When the suburb Hammarkullen was inaugurated at the end of the 1960s, it was presented as the city of the future, a practically car-free neighbourhood with new, smart homes, close to nature. But the positive image of Hammarkullen and other similar suburbs soon turned into the opposite: the suburbs built during the 1960s became associated with drugs, crime and social problems. Today, Hammarkullen is often described as a segregated and violent place, but the people who actually live there rarely get the opportunity to make themselves heard.

An exception is the photographer Jens S Jensen, who has documented Hammarkullen for over four decades, in a unique project in Swedish contemporary history. Jensen collected his photographs in three books. They received a lot of publicity when they came out, and his picture of the boy and the concrete wall in 1973 became an icon in Swedish photography.