Dr Kristian Häggblom’s curatorial aspirations were established in 1999 when he moved to Tokyo and co-established/curated RoomSpace Gallery in an infamous lane in Shinjuku. Häggblom has co-curated two iterations of Mildura Palimpsest Biennale (one in the Wentworth Goal and another at the Kar-Rama Motel) and founded and ran Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura from 2012 - 2016.

More recently he curated Tsuka: An Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Photography, a large-scale exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. In 2021 he established the image-text project Two Inadequate Voices.

Häggblom is currently working on an exhibition and symposium on Australian photography in Kuwait titled Speculative Horizons that will be staged in February 2023.



2018

Tsuka: An Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Photography


Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne & MIM, Mildura

Artists:
Risaku Suzuki, Kazuma Obara, Tomoki Imai, Kenji Chiga, Mayumi Hosokura, Chikako Enomoto, Hiroshi Hatate, Daisuke Morishita, Mayumi Suzuki, Hajime Kimura, Yusuke Yamatani, Go Itami, Yoshinori Mizutani, Asako Narahashi, Shingo Kanagawa, Yuji Hamada, Hiroyuki Takenouchi, Hiromi Kakimoto, Yoshikatsu Fujii, Masako Tomiya, Kosuke Okahara, Keiko Nomura and Yasutaka Kojima.

Supported by Japan Foundation, Sydney.

Link (downlodable catalogue)

Tsuka was an exhibition of contemporary Japanese photography that used ‘tsuka*’ monuments as the starting point for visual investigations by a selection of artists that work with both still and moving photography and the photobook. The artists made both literal and lateral responses to the notion of ‘tsuka’, ultimately addressing the question: is the act of taking, making and exhibiting photographs, a form of ‘tsuka’ in its own right?

*‘Tsuka’ is an ancient and complex Japanese term that has several meanings. Its simplest and most commonly used makes reference to a mound or hill, a pile of dirt. This mound of heaped earth is not a natural formation, but rather created through human intervention. These physical pilings are usually associated with burial and entombment, for the purposes of worship and/or mourning. Another more complex layer to this term refers to the mound as an ‘atonement tombstone’ for animals or objects that humans have thrown away or treated harshly often for their own purposes.

2012 – 2017

Wallflower Photomedia Gallery


Supported by Arts Mildura.

Link (blog featuring interviews, documentation, etc.)


Häggblom initiated and was head curator at WPG that was established with the support of Arts Mildura in 2012. The original prerogatives of the project were to highlight and create further readings of photography within a regional context and to present work otherwise unlikely seen in other spaces in Australia from artists using lens-based mediums, locally and from the world. The gallery featured work from England, Japan, Finland, Mexico, Poland, Canada, China, America, etc. WPG also facilitated off-site projects including solo exhibitions by Warwick Baker and Hoda Afshar (with curator Pippa Milne) at Mildura Arts Centre and a pop-up book store with Perimeter Editions.

2012

_on this site Victoria: Kororoit Creek


Wallflower Photomedia Gallery


Artists: Warwick Baker, Paul Batt, Thomas Breakwell, Kristian Häggblom, Siri Hayes, Katrin Koenning, Sanja Pohoki & Louis Porter (England).

Supported by Arts Mildura.


Link (WPG blog feature)


_on this site project engaged a number of initiators who nominated a specific location and then invited a group of image-makers to produce a work based on that specific site. The initiator's site could be a mountaintop, street corner or waterway, it is a place of known or unknown significance which each group responds to. The first instance was initiated by Kristian Häggblom who nominated Kororoit Creek in Melbourne’s west and the second initiator was Lee Grant from Canberra who nominated Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast.

2012

Lost & Found Project: Family Photos Swept Away by 3.11 East Japan Tsunami


Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) & Wallflower Photomedia Gallery (Mildura)


Supported by CCP & Arts Mildura.
Publication: Tsunami, Photographs, Then… published by AKAAKA.

Link

Lost & Found was a profoundly moving exhibition of collected photographs recovered from the devastation following the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear catastrophe that took place in the Tohoku region of Japan in 2011. The tsunami not only swept the harbour away, but also houses, cars, trains and many people lost their lives. Although no longer in the media, people in this region are still in great need. These photographs remind us of their presence and make us aware of their silent voices. The exhibition also gives us an opportunity to think about the relationship people have with their photographs. The Lost & Found project was an attempt to return pictures from the collection to their owners by cleaning, cataloguing and creating a digital database of the photographs. Many images were too badly damaged and could not be returned. However, rather than discard them, the project team decided to exhibit the imagery and give people the opportunity to see these photographs in the belief that they carry powerful messages and memories.

This project was initiated by Munemasa Takahashi and Hiroshi Hatate in Japan and Dr. Kristian Häggblom in Australia. Funds raised went directly to the people of Yamamoto-cho and a publication was produced with an essay by Geoffrey Batchen.

2011

The Kar-Rama Motel Project 


Mildura Palimpsest #8


Artists: Chim ↑ Pom (Japan), Tuomas A. Laitenen (Finland) & Kristian Häggblom, John Vella, Warren Fithie, Kate Cotching, Luci Marcuzzo, Sara Oscar, Keith Armstrong, Brendan Lee, Elliot Howard and Modus Operandi.

Supported by Arts Mildura and HIAP, Helsinki.

The Kar-Rama Motel Project worked with the Palimpsest #8 theme of “Collaborators and Saboteurs” across 14 rooms in a functioning 60s style motel. The 11 local, national and international artists created site-specific artworks that ranged from video, sculpture, physical interventions, photography, sound and performance. Artists attempted to raise the memories and visions we all have of these transient spaces.

2009

AUSTRALIA?


Co-curated with Brendan Lee,
Mildura Arts Centre   


Artists: Angelica Mesiti, James Newitt, John A. Douglas & Lane Cormick.

Supported by Mildura Arts Centre and Arts Victoria.

Through the work of four contemporary Australian video artists this exhibition questioned ideal notions of “Australianess” through an analysis of the country's history, politics and culture and in conjunction with the Hollywood blockbuster of the same title. Works were exhibited in an installational mode to break the projection/screen format of most contemporary video-based projects.

2009

re-socialization: The Wentworth Gaol Project 


Mildura Palimpsest #7


Artists: Juan Ford, Brendan Lee, Paul Wood, Philip Samartzis, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Colin Langridge, Shay Minster, Neil Fettling & Peter Peterson, Shaun Wilson, Richard Grigg, Tsuneyoshi Nobata (Japan), Kate Cotching, Lee Salomone, Kate Vivian, Geoff Brown and Kristian Häggblom & Siri Hayes.

Supported by Arts Mildura.

Academic Publication: Art Association of Australia & New Zealand (AAANZ) Journal paper.


The Wentworth Gaol Project was a form of anti/re-socialization that turned the notion of an “ideal” society on its head and explored the Palimpsest #7 theme of “Displacement”. Left dormant for many years, nowadays it’s a popular tourist attraction that boasts paranormal activity. The Gaol Project featured 18 local and inter/national artists and took place in the cells of both the men's and women’s blocks in addition to the courtyard with intermedia site-specific works that were powered and connected by solar electricity.

2007 & 2008

Silent Ruptures


Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne & 24HR NT Contemporary Art Centre Northern Territory.


Artists: Mathieu Bernard-Reymond (France), Yoshiro Masuda (Japan) and Kristian Häggblom.

Supported by Pro-Helvetia Foundation, Switzerland, and Monash University.

Silent Ruptures was an exhibition of photographs that revealed subtle yet poignant moments of interaction between humans and their surroundings. From different points of the globe, each artists’ work reflects upon the particularities of carefully selected places: Häggblom captures the vastness of the American West, Masuda creates a dense yet isolated Osaka and Bernard-Reymond reveals dream-like northern European tourist destinations. While these images originate from real places, the artists have collectively created a heterogeneous space, a world that seems to exist as a fiction as much as it does a reality.

2007

promiscuous: Paul Knight + Kristian Häggblom with a soundtrack by Phillip Samartzis


Omotesando Gallery, Tokyo.


Supported by Johnny Walker and The Australia Council for the Arts.

Link


promiscuous was an Australian collaborative exhibition of colour photographs by Paul Knight and Kristian Häggblom accompanied by a soundscape by Philip Samartzis. In Knights’ figurative work, intense emotional moments are suspended in the interior spaces he documents without the gloss of pornography or advertising. Häggblom is interested in the exterior world where the gaps between urban and landscapes allow culture and nature to implode. Within these dilapidated spaces he directs his characters to go about seemingly banal tasks that hint at how our fears and desires are bound to nature. For those who listened carefully, an ode for polystyrene-potted plants, composed by Samartzis in Tokyo that winter, was audible reverberating throughout the gallery space.

2005

Paper Bridges: a conference of folding spaces


Australia-Japan Exchange Exhibition.

Contemporary Art Services Tasmania (CAST).


Artists: Merric Brettle x Tsuneyoshi Nobata,  Warren Fithie x Takahiro Ando & Kristian Häggblom x Tomoki Imai.

Supported by CAST (Exhibition Development Fund), The Nomura Cultural Foundation, Japan and The Australia Council for the Arts & Australian Embassy.

Link

 
Three Tokyo-based Australian artists selected a Japanese contemporary practitioner working with similar themes and methodologies to form the curatorial premise for Paper Bridges. The exhibition examined the transference of information, particularly cultural product amongst the Asia-Pacific region. Paper Bridges also attempted to extend the reading of art within “white-cubes” beyond the gallery space by the use of intermedia and installation techniques.