Artist Magdalena Nilsson on her spectacular — and circular — flooring artwork for Tarkett’s showroom

An Abstract on Landscape is a 70 m2 floor intarsia image of vinyl and linoleum.
November 04, 2021

The Stockholm-based artist’s work focuses on landscapes, using both what is visible, like a horizon or a map, and what is hidden, like the composition of minerals in a stone.

— A landscape for me is a metaphor, it describes something in human nature, she explains. Landscape asks questions about time, about an individual’s relationship to their place in, and imprint on, the earth. By measuring, reproducing, repeating, focusing, or simplifying, I try to find meaning and significance in our relationship with the outside world. For the last couple of years, I have mainly been working with larger art installations in public spaces.

Her latest one is a spectacular artwork, An Abstract on Landscape, on the floor at flooring brand Tarkett’s showroom Ateljé in central Stockholm, a 70 m2 floor intarsia image of vinyl and linoleum.  

— The invitation from Tarkett was sudden and very open. I didn’t really have any restrictions on what artwork I would create. Perhaps the only obstacle was the time frame…

— My personal starting point was the baby blue marbled vinyl shower room in my childhood home. Other than that, I didn’t really have any conscious relationship to Tarkett’s products and I was happy to discover their materiality. I found a wide range of colorings and patterns that I could see myself using as sheets of color. I chose to work with about 40 colors from the different collections of linoleum and iQ vinyl flooring. Since this is a temporary installation, it felt right to use collections where the materials are truly circular and can be turned into new floors when their time as artwork is over. 

Given the space at Tarkett Ateljé with the wide-open floor, she tells how it felt like she was given a large canvas to upscale her ideas on cliffscapes. 

— I also knew that Tarkett’s most experienced technicians would perform the installation of the floor, which gave me the freedom to create a very precise composition. Recently, I have been working with watercolor landscapes, sceneries where an abstract mountain range is described through simplified geometrical forms. It felt natural to continue this work together with Tarkett. I could use the different structures and patterings in the flooring to mimic rocks and cliffs.  

— The linoleum, made in Italy, and iQ vinyl flooring, produced in Ronneby here in Sweden, used come from our Circular Collection and are fully recyclable after use, Tarkett’s marketing manager Kerstin Lagerlöf adds.

Next out for Magdalena Nilsson is two residencies.

— The first one is through the organisation The Arctic Circle, where I am invited to an expeditionary residency program exploring the high-Arctic Svalbard Archipelago in a traditional rigged barquentine (a ship, Ed’s note). Basically, I’ll be sailing through the Arctic landscape painting watercolors and dodging polar bears — or taking photos and asking the scientists tons of questions. The second residency is at the Folke Ateljé at Ricklundsgården in the remote mountain village of Saxnäs in the Swedish mountains. I’ll be working there for a month overlooking the vast lake Kultsjön and the Marsfjälls massif mountains. It will likely be a journey into solitude and I also have the access to hiking the mountains and a mountain cabin, she concludes.