curated by Trine Stephensen (NO)
Works depicting nature and landscapes are perhaps one of the longest-standing motifs of the art historical tradition, inspiring philosophical thought and depictions from cave paintings through to Romanticism and beyond. And yet today, even with the advent of contemporary techniques and technologies, works such as this are all too often overlooked if approached too conventionally.
From a human perspective there is little neutral about this biosphere that we are universally beholden to and affected by. Landscapes––the supporter of ecologies, histories and ecosystems––contain multitudes. It’s the role of the artist, as a storyteller, to chisel away at these great expanses, to reveal compositions and entanglements that may be overlooked by the average person. In order to break away from tired tropes and perspectives, image-makers should be aware of their influence on the public imagination, and be deliberate about the ways in which they mediate images—what story are they trying to tell?
The artists showing work in this exhibition attest to the abundance of potential meaning landscapes hold. Grouped together under the title Sculptural Landscapes, the ideas approached in the artworks diverge widely in form despite hailing from relatively close regions across Scandinavia. They all recognise the potential of photography as a purveyor of experimental and conceptual work. Accordingly, the camera often only accounts for a fraction of the tools used in the creation of the artworks exhibited, which spill out of the photographic frame and into other material forms such as installation and mixed media.
As artists working in contemporary times, it’s not unusual for them to be moving across disciplinary lines. But this assemblage of artists are enmeshed by their decision to weave their photographic processes back into the storyline: the work draws attention to each artist’s approach, as they intervene with and manipulate their images artfully. Shown together the works take on new life, forming questions and puzzles that the viewer can joyfully decode–– what is the purpose of arranging these images and objects in this order? Where might I position myself within this expanded landscape? Where artists of this tradition once wrestled with grand ideas, these artists approach their craft with more modesty, under no illusion that one image can answer all of life’s questions, and in doing so, they reveal unusual disturbances and processes that highlight important perspectives, packaged in compositionally graceful and sculptural forms.
The exhibition runs 15.1 – 28.2 2021
Supported by NORDISK KULTURFOND