Exhibition in Albania with Niklas Holmgren and Johan Österholm, current Iaspis studio grant holders in Stockholm
PHOTONES From the Sky to the Sea. Selected by Donika Çina, former Iaspis studio grant holder in Stockholm
PHOTONS From the Sky to the Sea
is an exhibition that brings together six artists and nine artworks selected by the artist and former Iaspis studio grant holder in Stockholm
and organized by Galleria e Bregdetit, Rradhima Vlora. With support by Iaspis – The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.
Often a project by Donika Çina takes the shape of a collection and conjunction of fragments (stories) which – although are not directly connected to each other in a sub sequential way – connect to complete a journey and build a new open-ended narrative. Through the combination of different personal and collective registers of thoughts and memories this fragments work separately but open the trails to the other fragments too, suggesting the role and intervention of the artist as the moderator of the discourse rather than the director thereof.
Invited by Galeria e Bregdetit to curate a show, Çina uses her own artistic practice as a method of combining and associating works to create an exhibition in the form of a journey. The journey in the same time explores the role of photographic image within the artists’ practice, in the production of the art object, as well as the photographic image as a backdrop influencing directly or indirectly our everyday life and the ways how we perceive life in all its components.
Likewise, the selected works do not explore the same topic and the artists do not use the same medium. Hence, there are no linear connections between them, each hints and derives from another work, creating different layers and trails of thoughts.
The journey starts from the nocturnal Skies of
who uses photography as a medium for reflecting an evolving concept of what constitutes a nightscape and what counts as “darkness”. He approaches the subject of light pollution as a kind of historian of light, carefully combining archival material and archaic photographic processes. Stars no longer visible to our eye due to the present light pollution are imprinted in gas lantern glasses coated with gelatin emulsion*. The use of this archaic photographic method transforms the artwork per se into the eye apparatus (lent) of the photographic camera; its goal is not to capture an image rather than to capture the quality of light itself.
When you stare at a painting of
your eyes can be deceived. It is not a print rather than a meticulous long hour process of capturing an image through the oldest artistic medium, the oil painting. (For Holmgren can take more than six months of everyday work in the studio to finish a work). Holmgren comes back to painting after a ten-year experience as a film director. The two paintings on the wall of the exhibition** depict inherent tensions of social interactions hinting at the transient states of mind of ordinary people, a fraction of reality he tries to capture while obsessively painting its physicality. They have the identical subject. The light, the colors, the composition and repetition of the exact frame are not the only hints suggesting a photographic image. Watching closely blurred areas can be found in the tableau suggesting that the subject is not watched by a bare eye rather than the lens of a photographic camera that unfocused some parts of the image.
The same blurred areas can be found in the non-figurative watercolors*** of
Ylva Carlgren. Her beginnings were as a photorealistic painter even though Carlgren now creates a reduced visual language characterized by presence and stillness relinquishing any and all mimetic pretensions. The blurred areas inside the tableau resemble relics of those times. Through a meticulous and controlled layering technique, fields of color are gradually charged with light manipulating the perceptual field. It is a process of perfection where the artist’s practice becomes and end in and of itself.
The opposite can be said for the works of
Mikaela Steby Stenfalk. Her work starts from and speaks to the others. Photography here is not the medium nor a simple influence, it is the source and basic material for the work. It is not about the history of photography albeit the use of archival material. It is about the present of it and what constitutes the digital archive. In a collaboration with
Sjoerd ter Borg
for an audiovisual installation**** the artists investigates what people leave online when they explore a city and how these traces seduce us when we explore sameness. As in the case of the collaboration with ter Borg and in other individual works, Stenfalk creates sculptures and 3D images by assembling fragments of instagram snapshots. Through them she reflects upon reproduction and archival processes in the age of the internet, as well as our growing relationship to digital landscapes and the ties to public life.
And, in the end of this journey started from the Skies of Johan Österholm, we arrive at the Seas of
Lotta Törnroth. Understandably the sea is not the safest place where to anchor, nor the metaphor of arrival. It is the boundless space, the place of depth, and freedom as well as the place of danger and challenge; the place of courage and hope that everything will go fine while it can very well end up in disaster. This tension and the feeling of drama is substantial in Törnroth works. In her photographs***** she stands steal holding a light in her hands in the early hours of the day in front of a frozen seascape. Her gesture embodies the waiting and hope and also the self-reflection upon danger and tragedy from the view point and distance of the spectator.´
Nevertheless, the Sea, alike the exhibition, is not the ending of a journey but simply the opportunity for endless exploration. Meantime, google points the coordinates 40.46667, 19.48972, and we find ourselves at the shore, facing the sea at Galeria e Bregdetit.
* Johan Österholm, Untitled Lantern Pieces, Object
** Niklas Holmgren, Untitled I and II, Oil paintings
*** Ylva Carlgren, Definition and Examples, Watercolor paintings
**** Mikaela Steby Stenfalk & Sjoerd ter Borg, De Drie Wijzen uit Oost, Audiovideo installation
***** Lotta Törnroth, To wait for the Inevitable: I Wait as a Lighthouse (I-IV), Photographic series