Cupcakes, Champagne, and Chanel: A Swedish Photographer Clicks with Consumer Culture

Free-spirited and fanciful: Such words could describe the artwork of Clara Hallencreutz. They might also describe Hallencreutz, a stylish, Swedish, social media–savvy millennial.

Hallencreutz is all over the internet. As documented on Instagram and other social media, her glamorous daily life is filled with flowers, champagne, and weekend trips to far-flung islands. A glance at her feed also offers helpful context for viewing her artwork, which now includes a solo exhibition currently on display at DTR Modern Galleries in Boston.

As in her Instagram, the featured works are autobiographical. They’re photographs of small-scale pieces riffing on luxurious and aesthetically pleasing objects and materials: lush flowers in full bloom, gleaming gold, porcelain, cupcakes, and champagne flutes brimming with Chanel No. 1. But the photos also reveal a sense of humor, not to mention a sly but whimsical exploration of a consumer culture. For instance, The Golden Arches (2009) features a McDonald’s Happy Meal sumptuously plated like a dazzling family heirloom.

Several works, including Smell Deluxe Lime (2013) and Smell Deluxe Coloursplash (2015), spell out the Chanel logo in floral or confectionary arrangements. And what could be more playful and deliciously extravagant than a smiling pair of lips made from dozens of red flowers, or a champagne flute overflowing with Parisian perfume?

If something here reminds you of an ad in a glossy magazine, you’re right on the money: Hallencreutz has a background in commercial art. Yet these bold works reveal plenty about Hallencreutz’s presence and predilections, just as if you combed through her Instagram feed. These photos aren’t selfies, but her personality is very much their central character.


—Bridget Gleeson


Clara Hallencreutz’s show at DTR Modern Galleries is on view in Boston, Mar. 25–Apr. 29, 2016.

Follow DTR Modern Galleries on Artsy.

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