Social Art Work for Värmamo 

Titel: Good Bread
Artist Melissa Vandenberg

Media:  Bread, yarn, performance, video, photography

 Invitation to participate 

 The artist Melissa Vandenberg invites Värnamo residents to share personal memories linked to bread and baking through recipes, photographs, and/or stories. The objective is to collect bread related material so that it may be circulated with those spending more time at home amid COVID-19. The collected stories, recipes, and images will be the basis for artwork to be exhibited at Gummifabriken in the fall of 2020.


Those who wish to contribute to Good Bread may send your stories, recipes, and photos to brabrod @ Submissions in Swedish or English are welcome. Also, you are encouraged to share your bread stories on social media–please tag posts with #distancio, #goodbread and #brabröd.


- to be translated -
Samhällen formas till viss del efter vår mattradition och vi samlas gärna kring mat, det är en källa till gemenskap och tillit. Vilket förhållande har du till mat och framförallt till bröd? Bra Bröd är ett samarbetsprojekt där konstnären Melissa Vandenberg undersöker vilket förhållande bröd och bakning har till identitet och familjetraditioner men även ur ett  mer existentiellt perspektiv brödet som föda och ritual. Vad gör det med oss då vi stannar upp och bakar. Vilka minnen och drömmar triggas i processen, i doften och i texturen.

Att göra verk av alldagligheten så som materialet bröd eller om kulturhistoria är utmanande. Melissa Vandenberg lyckas med sin unika kombination av lekfullhet och allvar framkalla innerliga tankar kring det vi dagligen konsumerar och det som vi ser som traditioner. Hon viker på obehindrat sätt samman dagsaktuella frågor och existentiella ställningstaganden så att sociopolitiska förtätningar sätts i nytt ljus. Hennes arbetsmetod kännetecknas av djuplodad research sammanvävt med viljan att ständigt utforska nya material och tekniker. Därefter följer en tillsynes mer dynamisk fas då hon ber olika grupper och personer att bidra med material som hon sedan bearbetar till nya verk både fysiska och immateriella, som inte sällan uppstår som objekt, sedan förflyttas de till staged photography or performance infront of camera our audience.


June-August, collecting material

Postcards distributed, and stories on bread collected.

August - September
The artist could not travel to Värnamo and do the work during spring as planned, due to Covid. Works and method of gathering material was addressed to fit in to an online/offline situation.

October 22 –  November 22, 2020, exhibition
Venue: Gummifabriken, Värnamo

Exhibition produced by Jönköpings läns Museum and Värnamo municipality for the centennial of Värnamo City. 



Mark Rautenbach

based in Cape Town, South Africa, working with Tranås

Rui Mourão

based in Lisbon, Portugal, working with Gnosjö

Oscar  de Carmen & Marinka Bobrikova

based in Cape Town, working with Mullsjö

Melissa Vandenberg.

based in Richmond, KY USA, working with Värnamo

See all artist invitation to participate videos >>>

 DISTANCIO Concept Note 

Tranås, Mullsjö, Gnosjö and Värnamo in Sweden are all part of the regional art project Its co produced between the municipalities and Region Jönköpingslän together with curator Anna Viola Hallberg. The project was initiated in 2018 and has evolved in to a highly relevant topic due to the pandemic time started globally in the spring of 2020. Each artist has formed a town specific project from the curatorial concept of DISTANCIO bringing forward immersive and community-reflective processes. Through their practices the artists evoke aspects of distance in and in-between society and what possibly can create new forms of belonging. By this it takes a stance in a socio-political art context.

DISTANCIO is site, situation and dialogue dependent, it address layers in society that goes beyond the four towns;  Mullsjö, Gnosjö, Tranås and Värnamo. It explores:

- the dynamics and unforeseen relationships within and between different groups in society as well as the concepts of public art and audience. The artist embark upon the crossroads of social art and its potential to interact with and detect political and social contingencies and structures.

- audience, the relation between public space and public sphere and embraces subaltern counter-publics towards social equality, cultural diversity, and participatory democracy. 

”I spent much of my adult life looking for good bread, the bread my grandmother baked for my mom. Not out of some health-conscious or grand moral desire, but simply for taste... a taste of cultural identity. My mother spoke a great deal about the homemade limpa she grew up with. The project in Värnamo will address the personal journey, and almost mythologic relation to various breads. Together with the people of  Värnamo   form socially oriented and performative artworks with bread as a primary focus. These interactions will not be heavily scripted, but will be multi-faceted with several tiers of collaborative development."

Melissa Vandenberg

 Framework Good Bread
My starting point was the search for my identity in foreign places, in places where I am estranged from myself.” - Rirkrit Tiravanija
As a maker, I discover myself in the estrangement made available by the unfamiliar. Whether that be unfamiliar places, tastes, or experiences. Det Goda Brödet investigates the social and communal nature of food through various iterations surrounding bread. The project will humbly approach the community of Värnamo to produce several artistic platforms to exchange stories, recipes, and trust–with bread as the catalyst. Bread is not only a key economic and cultural signifier of identity, but bread is downright biblical. They irony is I neither bake nor worship with any proficiency. It is not for lack of skill or faith, but for lack of patience.

Det Goda Brödet welcomes collaboration by asking residents of Värnamo to bake with me–and me, asking to deserve to be baked with. The initial outcomes will be a series of modest photographic portraits of people, kitchens, and bread. These images will seed a petite brödbibliotekt or brödarkiv, combined with bread recipes, new and old, from local citizens. Not dissimilar to how women would collect and share small volumes of recipes in a church cookbook. In return, the results and related artifacts will be shared with contributors.

As my knowledge of Värnamo strengthens, I will create an interactive public embroidery experiment of knäckebröd with yarn and other sewing notions. The surface of the knäckebröd lends itself to text and image needlework, with its organic grid of indentations. The happening, in a shared public space, welcomes everyone to contribute by embroidering personal epitaphs on the knäckebröd while sharing conversation and coffee. The results will be documented and exhibited.

In conclusion of my proposed time in Värnamo, I will take several walks through the city, wearing shoes made from loafs of bread, tentatively titled En Brödvandring. The walks, in an oblique way, reference “walking in someone else’s shoes”, while meditating on cultural perspectives surrounding identity, other than one’s own.


With support from: Region Jönköpings län and Mullsjö, Gnosjö, Tranås och Värnamo municipalities.     Curator: Anna Viola Hallberg     Contakt: curator @