ABBA The Museum is launching its biggest attraction since opening in May 2013. Four life-size replicas of ABBA members Frida, Agnetha, Björn and Benny in silicon, dressed in their legendary stage clothes from the late ‘70s. Work on the figures has been ongoing for just over a year, headed by talented make-up artist and artist Göran Lundström at Effektstudion in Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm.
The members of ABBA themselves have been intricately involved in the production of their replicas, with detailed measurements taken on all four, in order to come as close as possible to the way they looked back then.
Behind these works of art is Swedish make-up artist and sculptor Göran Lundström from Effektstudion. In autumn 2013, Göran was commissioned to recreate ABBA in life-size replicas. The figures, which are unique globally, will be launched at the beginning of March 2015.
“It’s harder to get a true likeness when you don’t have access to the person in question and have to rely on photographs,” said Göran Lundström. “But these are globally-unique, since we were able to take exact measurements of all four ABBA members, which means that they are as close to the originals as we could get,” Lundström continued.
The silicone figures showcase true craftsmanship from head to toe. Each strand of hair was added by hand. Casts were taken of the hands of all four ABBA members, and subsequently sculpted. Hundreds of photographs were consulted in order to perfect the facial features and colour of their eyes, hair, eyebrows and teeth. Altogether a team of 35+ people worked on the figures to ensure the high quality craftsmanship commissioned by ABBA The Museum.
Benny Andersson on the final results:
“Wonderful mannequins, better looking than the originals.”
The clothes were picked in collaboration with ABBA themselves, with the choice going to stage clothes from 1979 designed by Owe Sandström. The garments are made of a stretch fabric. The original design from the 70’s was developed in collaboration with Rune Söderqvist, who created the set design for the 1979 North American tour. The diagonal stripes on the clothes depict peaks from a Swedish mountain-scape, and the light and colours of the mountains, seen in the snow, glaciers, and Northern Lights, are reflected in the garments’ shifting shades of blue, purple and silver.
Agnetha Fältskog on the clothes:
“I like the costume choice. Back then, the tricots were one of my favourites. They were good for dancing in and moving about freely, it was nice to feel free on stage.”
The Polar design also runs through the exhibit, with the ABBA figures standing against a backdrop of silvery, purple mountains, identical to the set design used during the 1979 tour. Visitors to the museum can naturally get close to the replicas of ABBA, giving them the opportunity to take a picture with the group – and become the fifth member, as if for real.
Frida Lyngstad Reuss on the figures:
“The entire process has been so creative and inspiring – being able to give our input on all the details. And the results are excellent thanks to the perceptiveness of Göran and his team! Exquisite craftsmanship!
The new exhibit also includes the short movie The Making Of …!, which explains how the nine-month long process to make the ABBA figures unfolded – from the very first measurement to the final touch of make-up.
Björn Ulvaeus on the process:
“I brought my test head home and laid it on my pillow, stuffing some other pillows under the cover. Then I called my wife into the bedroom. What an impact! There was the man who lay beside her 35 years ago. The man she fell in love with!
On March 3, the ABBA figures will arrive by helicopter, landing on the roof of the museum to the sound of Arrival and unveiled for the first time to the general public. Finally together again – the four – forever. And how close to the originals are they? Find out when you see them for yourself!
ABBA members themselves have actively participated in the craft, including the loan of photographs and asked the trial, and Bjorn Ulvaeus even got to bring his own head home one day:
– I put it on my pillow along with a few pillows under the covers. Then I asked my wife to come to the bedroom. What effect! It was the man who slept next to her for 35 years!
Mattias Hansson, CEO, ABBA the Museum:
“The first time I found myself in a room with a person who hadn’t seen the ABBA figures before says it all. His eyes opened wide and he let out a big “Wow!” That’s the best confirmation you can get in our industry. I knew right away that our ABBA clones would be a hit.”
Since opening, ABBA the Museum has welcomed more than 600,000 visitors from all over the world. And there is major curiosity about the launch of the museum’s most major attraction since May 2013. In response to international interest, representatives of the museum will be attending the world’s largest travel fair in Berlin to present the new attraction and meet the international press at an event with over 200 key industry guests (in collaboration with Stockholm Visitors Board and VisitSweden).
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Facts about the new ABBA figures at ABBA The Museum
– Globally-unique craftsmanship in silicon by EffektStudion AB, headed by Göran Lundström, who has also participated in work on Harry Potter films, Narnia 2, Arn films, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Wolfman.
– The members of ABBA themselves actively contributed, providing measurements, bite tests, photographs, and taking part in choosing the stage clothes and look.
– Exact replicas of the stage clothes were made, under the supervision of Owe Sandström, ABBA’s costume designer.
– The process has taken one year, and over 3,000 hours of work, from commissioning the figures to the finished product.
– The conceptual work began back in 2011, when plans for the museum were first getting started.
– Artists, sculptors and specialists from the international film industry participated in the creation of the figures.
About Göran Lundström
Göran Lundström is a Swedish make-up artist and sculptor with over 20 years’ experience in the film, theatre and television industries, in Sweden and internationally. Since 1996, he has been running the company EffektStudion AB, a leading supplier of make-up, creature and animatronic effects in Scandinavia. In addition to hundreds of commissions in his capacity as artistic director for EffektStudion, he has also worked on an international basis on renowned film projects and for several industry role models such as seven-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker, Academy Award winner Howard Berger/ KNB EFX, Academy Award winner Mark Coulier, for the legendary Stan Winston Studio and the groundbreaking Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. He has also worked on a long list of notable film projects including: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Narnia 2 – Prince Caspian, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Arn films, The Wolfman, X-men-first class, Clash of the titans 1&2.
Rick Baker says;
“I had the pleasure of working with Goran on The Wolfman. I found him to be a very talented makeup artist and have since learned, from following his work that he is a very talented artist.”
– Rick Baker, the legendary, special-effects makeup artist and seven time Academy Award winner, make-up, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Howard Berger says;
“Goran is an artist whose work I viewed on line in 2006 and loved. I had to work with him, so when the opportunity arose in 2007, I leaped at the chance to have him on our crew for The Chronicles of Narnia. I still keep in touch with him and enjoy seeing what he is creating. Goran is a true master artist in every sense of the word.”
– Howard Berger, make-up effects artist, Academy Award winner, make-up, BAFTA winner, make-up.
About ABBA The Museum
At ABBA The Museum, visitors can follow the band’s phenomenal career, from when the members of ABBA met at the end of the 1960s, through the breakthrough with ‘Waterloo,’ on major world tours, until the pause in 1982. Visitors can sing in the Polar Studios, try stage clothes virtually and experience what it is like to be on stage with the band. Through the museum’s audioguide, Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida tell the story of their own personal memories of their years with ABBA for the first time. ABBA the museum is part of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, which presents over 400 Swedish artists from the 1920s to today, as well as the Hall of fame, which evolves every year with new inductions of Swedish musicians, producers and songwriters selected for their contributions to Sweden’s musical heritage.
Photo credits given were possible/if known