Becoming Wilderness V, 2013
  • Becoming Wilderness V, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness VI, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness VIII, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness VII, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness II, 2012–2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness III, 2012–2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness IX A, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness IX B, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness IX D, 2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness I, 2012–2013
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  • Becoming Wilderness IV, 2012–2013
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Nyförvärv, The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg, 2013-2014
  • Nyförvärv, The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg, 2013-2014
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The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth V, 2012–2013
  • The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth V, 2012–2013
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  • The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth I, 2012–2013
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The Pentagram Position XIII, 2013
  • The Pentagram Position XIII, 2013
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  • The Pentagram Position XIV, 2012
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  • The Pentagram Position I, 2011
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  • The Pentagram Position VI, 2012
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Becoming Wilderness, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2013
  • Becoming Wilderness, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2013
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Saga XI, 2011
  • Saga XI, 2011
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  • Watching Humans Watching V, 2008
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  • Saga XIII, 2011
  • 3/17
  • Saga XXII, 2011
  • 4/17
  • Watching Humans Watching XIX, 2010
  • 5/17
  • Watching Humans Watching VI, 2008
  • 6/17
  • Saga V, 2009
  • 7/17
  • Watching Humans Watching XIV, 2010
  • 8/17
  • Watching Humans Watching XX, 2010
  • 9/17
  • Saga IX, 2010
  • 10/17
  • Watching Humans Watching XXXII, 2010
  • 11/17
  • Watching Humans Watching I, 2008
  • 12/17
  • Saga VIII, 2011
  • 13/17
  • SAGA I, 2009
  • 14/17
  • Watching Humans Watching III, 2008
  • 15/17
  • Watching Humans Watching VIII, 2008
  • 16/17

Watching Humans Watching & SAGA

 

Human experience lives in the supranatural space between solid realities and phantasmic imaginings. Mind and eye vie, play, and ultimately blur as matter turns to memory, and memory affects encounters. These are the transformative moments when fantasy magics the tangible into the metaphysical.

A surprise of great beauty; an exhilarating, fearful moment; rapt awe; and a happy conversation between a human and nature is revealed in sweeping tableaus, lush color fields, and small, but undeniably engaged individuals, couples, and groups. Whether deeply involved in the conversation, or expectant that it will happen, the subjects bare a desire for this connection.

Patterns in the actions and aesthetics of Lindergård and Holmström´s wayfarers reinforce these moments of fundamental rapport. Subconsciously blending with their new environments, many wear the colors that surround them. Others wander off alone, freezing in the face of a handsome view or inviting curiosity. Some gather together, forming constellations that map topographies. These habits, set in big landscapes with radiant color schemes, iconize the subjects as testaments to primal bonds.

Lindergård and Holmström give us more than observation of experience – they seem to divulge what, and how, their subjects see. Those images without people might embody individual impressions – micro views of realities extended and accentuated. A deep-red rock oozes fluorescent sherbet, or the remnant goo of melted sun. Icy pink stalactites stand guard at the entrance of a Yeti’s playfort, or double as the maw of some ancient sea monster. As wonder overcomes time and place, Lindergård and Holmström invoke the abiding mysticism inspired by human-nature relationships.

From Of Great Wonder by Alexxa Gotthardt

  • About
  • 17/17
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Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012
  • Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012
  • 1/5
  • Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012
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  • Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012
  • 3/5
  • Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012
  • 4/5

Watching Humans Watching, Book, Kehrer Verlag, 2012

 

Winner of The Swedish Photo Book Prize 2012

The Swedish Photo Book Prize has been awarded annually by the Association of Swedish Photographers since 1996. The prize, for which all printed photo books can be nominated, is awarded to the Best Photo Book of the Year in Sweden.

 

The jury’s reasoning:

Inka Lindergård & Niclas Holmström bring new life to landscape photography and the way we look at the intersection between humans and nature. With their unconventional and associative style and an imagery, that is simultaneously historic and contemporary, they approach nature as the Big Unknown. The playful book design conveys personal as well as surprising perspectives.

 

Price: €30 + shipping (worldwide) €10

  • About
  • 5/5
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Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 1/9
  • Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 2/9
  • The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the earth III, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 3/9
  • The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the earth I-VIII, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 4/9
  • Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 5/9
  • The Pentagram Position XIII, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 6/9
  • Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 7/9
  • Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013
  • 8/9

Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, 2013

 

Integral to their practice is the wish to consider what it is in a sunset over an ocean or the view of a mountain range that is so emotionally spellbinding and continues to fill us with awe? What is it that drives us to go out there and collect these images over and over again? And what mystical aura’s create the sense of awe and wonder that colours our understanding of nature?

These are some of the defining questions behind Becoming Wilderness. Inka and Niclas’ practice evolves around an exploration of the different components that constitutes the powerful psychological effects of different natural phenomena and landscapes. In their previous projectSaga, which was presented in the book Watching Humans Watching, Inka and Niclas started to deconstruct the attractiveness of a sunset. They experimented by extracting its different colours and applying them to new objects and scenes, they explore the possibility of transferring the magical qualities of a sunset to a lesser, more mundane image.  This is further developed in the series The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the earth presented in the exhibition. The series consists of nine images of rocks in the shoreline dripping with lush colours and with the open horizon as their backdrop. For a moment the sunset left the sky and moved into these rocks. It is not an experience recorded with the eye but the migration of the colors has, through the testimony of the camera, been registered into a new corner of our reality.

From Press Release by Therese Kellner

  • About
  • 9/9
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Watching Humans Watching, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2011
  • Watching Humans Watching, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2011
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  • Watching Humans Watching, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2011
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  • Watching Humans Watching, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2011
  • 4/5
  • Watching Humans Watching, Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2011
  • 5/5
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Conveyor, USA, 2013
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  • Amarello, Brazil, 2013
  • 7/131
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  • Amarello, Brazil, 2013
  • 20/131
  • CONST Literary (P)review, Sweden, 2013
  • 21/131
  • CONST Literary (P)review, Sweden, 2013
  • 22/131
  • Little Finger, Sweden, 2013
  • 23/131
  • Little Finger, Sweden, 2013
  • 24/131
  • Radical Fiction, Brazil, 2013
  • 25/131
  • Radical Fiction, Brazil, 2013
  • 26/131
  • Radical Fiction, Brazil, 2013
  • 27/131
  • Rodeo, Sweden, 2013
  • 28/131
  • Rodeo, Sweden, 2013
  • 29/131
  • Harper’s Magazine, USA, 2012
  • 30/131
  • Harper’s Magazine, USA, 2012
  • 31/131
  • IMA, Japan, 2013
  • 32/131
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  • Le Monde Diplomatique, France/Germany, 2011
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  • SvD, Sweden, 2012
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  • Capricious #8, The Animal Issue, A2 poster, USA, 2008
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  • Capricious #8, The Animal Issue, A2 poster, USA, 2008
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  • Bamboo, Brazil, 2012
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  • Ein Magazin über Orte, No.7, Meer, Germany, 2010
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  • Fotografisk Tidskrift #4, Sweden, 2011
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  • Kinki magazine, Switzerland, 2011
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  • Fotografisk Tidskrift #4, Sweden, 2012
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  • La Fotografia, Spain, 2011
  • 63/131
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  • Motiv#14 The end, Sweden, 2009
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  • P.Y.T. Pretty Young Thing, Lodret Vandret, Denmark, 2013
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  • Photo Presse, Germany, 2011
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  • PWR #1, Poster, Sweden, 2009
  • 77/131
  • Re:public Service Photo Issue, Sweden, 2009
  • 78/131
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  • 79/131
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  • Ruotsin Soumalaisen Viikkoliite, Finland/Sweden, 2012
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  • The Collectors Guide to Emerging Art Photography, Humble Arts Foundation, USA, 2009
  • 86/131
  • The Collectors Guide to Emerging Art Photography, Humble Arts Foundation, USA, 2009
  • 87/131
  • The Exposure Project Book Issue 4, USA, 2009
  • 88/131
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  • 89/131
  • The Exposure Project Book Issue 4, USA, 2009
  • 90/131
  • Vidvinkel Magazine #2, Sweden, 2009
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  • Vidvinkel Magazine #3, Sweden, 2012
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  • Vidvinkel Magazine #3, Sweden, 2012
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  • Wilderness Poster I, Turukame bookshop, Tokyo Artist Book Fair, Japan, 2011
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  • Wilderness Poster I, Turukame bookshop, Tokyo Artist Book Fair, Japan, 2011
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  • Swedish Photography #2, 2012
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  • To Sweden, Diplomat Pamphlet, USA, 2012
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  • Not A Toy: Fashioning Radical Characters, Germany, 2011
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  • PWR #6, Book, Germany, 2011
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Contact

Inka & Niclas Lindergård

inkaandniclas@gmail.com
+4673 4402455
Varvsgatan 10B, 11729 Stockholm, Sweden

Grundemark Nilsson Gallery

- Swedish Photography-
www.grundemarknilsson.se
gallery@grundemarknilsson.se
Karl-Marx-Allee 62, 10243, Berlin, Germany

Books

Watching Humans Watching, 2012

Publisher:  KEHRER VERLAG, Germany.
Texts by:  Alexxa Gotthardt, Camilla Årlin, Dr Matthias Harder, Jonas Larsen.
Language:  English.
Design:  H-T Nilsson & Rasmus Svensson.
200 x 245 mm portrait hardbound with linen cover.
104 pages.
80 fullcolour image pages, 24 bw textpages.
55 color photographs, 1 bw photograph.
ISBN 978-3-86828-267-2

Winner of The Swedish Photo Book Price 2012.
Nominated to The German Photo Book Price 2013.

Visible Spectrum, 2014

Publisher: Conveyor Arts, USA.
Design: Sepidar Hosseini
Part of Visible Spectrum artists’ books series

Texts

Becoming Wilderness

Rituals and Rainbows, Dominica Paige
Opening speech at Swedish Photography, Ann-Christine Bertrand
Becoming Wilderness,Therese Kellner

Watching Humans Watching / SAGA

Of Great Wonder, Alexxa Gotthardt
Opening speech at Swedish Photography, Heinz Stahlhut
Coloured Mirrors Pink Clouds, Dr Matthias Harder

Selected Exhibitions

2014

Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Unseen Photo Fair, Amsterdam, Holland.
Blog Re-Blog, Austin Center for Photography, Austin, USA.
De: Stockholm,
Rollergirl, Gallery Artligue, Paris, France.
Frames 2014, GI – Glasgow International,
Book Watching Humans Watching in The Visible – Contemporary Swedish Photography, Artipelag, Sweden.
Photography Now, IMA Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.
Swedish Photography, Aipad, The Armory Show, New York, USA.

2013

Nyförvärv, The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden.
Swedish Photography, Context Art Fair, Miami, USA.
Operakällaren (solo exhibition), Stockholm, Sweden.
Nordic Tones, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Radical Fictions, IV, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil.
Becoming Wilderness (solo exhibition), Swedish Photography, Berlin, Germany.
Night Contact, London, UK
Landskrona Fotofestival
(solo exhibition), Sweden.
Blog Re-Blog,
SIGNAL Gallery, New York, USA.
Watching Humans Watching (solo exhibition), Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg, Germany.
Swedish Photography, SP-ARTE, São Paulo, Brazil.
Becoming Wilderness (solo exhibition), Green is Gold, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2012

Swedish Photography, Context Art Fair, Miami, USA.
Swedish Photography, SP-ARTE, São Paulo, Brazil.
To Sweden, Diplomat, Philadelphia, USA.

2011

Watching Humans Watching (solo exhibition), Swedish Photography, Berlin, Germany.
Corso #3, Detroit, Stockholm, Sweden.

2010

Schwedische Botschaft, Berlin, Germany.
Corso #1, Trikåfabriken, Stockholm, Sweden.
Moving Art, touring exhibition, Sweden.
Re:public Service photofestival. Stockholm, Sweden (4x8m² projections and posters).

2009

Rotating gallery, New york, USA.
Looking for Love, Moderna Museet, Studion, Stockholm, Sweden.
Looking for Love, CFF, Stockholm, Sweden.
Re:public Service photofestival. Stockholm (4x8m² projections and prints)

2008

Ode to the Animal. Capricious Space. New York, USA.
Retina.The Photomuseum. Sundsvall, Sweden.
PUB house, Stockholm, Sweden.
Summer reading, Capricious Space, New York, USA.

Selected Publications

2014

De: Stockholm, Rollergirl, The Netherlands.
PERDIZ Magazine,
Spain.
Photography Now,
IMA Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.
The Visible – Contemporary Swedish Photography, Artipelag, Sweden.
Loft-The Scandinavian Bookazine, Sweden

2013

Little Finger, Sweden.
Amarello, Brazil
.
Conveyor Magazine, USA.
CONST Literary (P)review, Sweden.
Rodeo Magazine, Sweden.
Bänken #6, Sweden.
IMA, Japan.

P.Y.T. Pretty Young Thing, Lodret Vandret, Denmark.

2012

Harper’s Magazine, September, USA.
Fotografisk Tidskrift #4, Sweden.
Swedish Photography, Two, Catalouge, Germany.
Vidvinkel Magazine #3, Sweden.
Bamboo, Brazil.
Norr Magazine, Germany.
Philosophie Magazine, Paris, France.
To Sweden, Diplomat Pamphlet, Philadelphia, USA.
Book cover, Hallon och Bensin, Blå Blixt, Ny Poesi, Brombergs, Sweden.

2011

Le Monde Diplomatique, France/Germany.
PWR #6, Book, Germany.
La Fotografia, Spain.
BLINK Contemporary Photography Magazine #8, Korea.
Photo Presse, Germany.
Fotografisk Tidskrift #5, Sweden.
Not A Toy: Fashioning Radical Characters, Germany.
Kinki magazine, Switzerland.
Wilderness Poster I, Turukame bookshop, Tokyo Artist Book Fair, Japan.

2010

Ein Magazin über Orte, No.7, Meer, Germany.
I Love You Magazine, The fariy-tale issue, Germany.
Re:public Service Photo Issue, Sweden.

2009

The Exposure Project Book Issue 4. USA.
Vidvinkel Magazine #2. Sweden.
The Collectors Guide to Emerging Art Photography #1. Humble Arts Foundation. USA.
Motiv#14 The end, Sweden.
Re:public Service Photo Issue, Sweden.
DN, Looking for love, Sweden.
PWR #1, Poster, Sweden.

2008

Capricious #8, The Animal Issue. A2 poster. USA.

Selected Web

2014

Paper-Journal.

2013

Monday Art.
Visual Maniac.

Kopenhagen Artguide.

2012

Swedish Public TV (SVT), Sweden.
SFF, Stefan Nilsson – Smart fotografi på nygamla vägar (in swedish).
SFF, Fotobokspriset (in swedish).
Conveyor, Aubrey Hays.
Unless you will #20.
NABROAD NEWS.
MEDESIGNMAG.

2011

TIME lightbox, Alexander Ho – Human Behavior: An Exploration of People Watching.
Phaidon, Sally Ashley-Cound – Inka and Niclas change the landscape.
Vidvinkel, Man and Nature Issue.

Other

Collections

The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden.
Private collections in Sweden, Germany, UK, Switzerland, USA, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Grants

Grant, The Swedish Authors’ Fund, 2013. Sweden.
Nominated to The German Photo Book Award, 2013, Germany.
Winner of The Swedish Photo Book Price 2012, Sweden.
Nominated to Foam Paul Huf Award, 2012, The Netherlands.
Grant, Svenska kulturfonden, 2010, Finland.
Grant, Stiftelsen Dialog, 2008, Sweden.

Talks

Artist presentation, Norrlandsdagarna, Umeå, Sweden. 2013
Artist presentation, Sandviken Konsthall, Sandviken, Sweden. 2013
Artist presentation, Berghs School of Communication, Stockholm, Sweden. 2013
Artist presentation, Fotoskolan, Gothenburg, Sweden. 2013
Artist presentation and Book Event, Gothenburg Book Fair, Sweden. 2012
Artist presentation and workshop, Photodeparntment, St Petersburg, Russia. 2012
Book presentation, Motto, Berlin, Germany. 2012
Artist presentation, Re:public service photofetival. Sweden. 2010

Book Fairs

Gothenburg Book Fair, Gothenburg, Sweden. 2012
CCNY Art Book Fair, New York, USA. 2012
Turukame bookshop, Tokyo Artist Book Fair, Japan. 2011

DOMINICA PAIGE

Rituals and Rainbows

 

I.

Nature sets the scene: it’s evening, the light is lulling, and the sea is beginning to blend into the sky. The world softens into twilight and the quakes of the day fade into the wisps of night. It is at this moment that Inka and Niclas take their cue and combine innocence and wonder with construction and manipulation. Whether their vision takes the form of a rainbow that ribbons from cracks in the Earth’s surface or the paradox of a rooted apparition in the form of a bundle of sticks walking the tideline, they sculpt the already wondrous world into some- thing fantastic.

Inka and Niclas unify the natural and the supernatural in one vast sweep of their celestial paintbrush. They create otherworldly landscapes filled with magic, the impossible, and a sugar rush of dazzling colors. Nature serves as their backdrop and as their star character; it functions as both an entry point and an intersection. Inka and Niclas balance the dichotomy of colors that are at once hemorrhaging into the landscape and being absorbed by it. The colors speak to one another and to their surroundings. Pink murmurs. Orange howls. Violet weeps. Taking landscape photography as their historical waypoint and borrowing the novel and vibrant vision of the Impressionists and the Fauves, they cultivate terrain that leads us beyond awe and into wonder: these hues appear almost as hallucinations — arresting, lustrous, unnerving.

II.

Their images point to the mythic world, to the place where the secular and divine worlds collide, overlap, mesh. Pulling colors from the heavens and placing them on Earth calls to mind the mythic rainbow bridge Bifröst, which connected the Norse gods’ realm with the world of humanity.

Scholars debate the etymology of the word. The original form of the name, Bilfröst, is akin to “the fleetingly glimpsed rainbow.” If the second form of the word, Bifröst, is correct, however, the meaning would be closer to “the shaking or trembling rainbow.” In either case, the word points to the transitory and delicate nature of the bridge, of rainbows, and of apparitions at large.

The image of Bifröst that is alluded to in Inka and Niclas’ work expresses the significance of the rainbow from a mythical perspective. Bifröst lies behind and within any and every visible rainbow — be it an evanescent and trembling bridge linking earth and sky, or fleeting hues borrowed from the cosmos and embedded firmly in the terrestrial.

III.

A ritualistic component hints at the ancient and everlasting. We see the hand of man in his fundamental crusade for something ethereal and transformative. The result is a landscape that has been lent a ghostly presence; the arrangements of naturally occurring but peculiarly placed elements elicit an eeriness and imminence that is often felt but rarely fully acknowledged in nature. The real and the imagined fuse as a phantasmic flash of light emanates from a blackbird and a star-like alignment of sticks.

In hushed hues of black and white, Inka and Niclas attempt to crack the secret code of nature through their instinctively arranged installations. Robert Smithson’s Yucatan Mirror Displacements are echoed in Inka and Niclas’ mirrors; the difference is, where Smithson placed his mirrors in the landscape to face outward, Inka and Niclas have positioned them to reflect one another. The mirrors engage in mimicry, reverberating the self-contained secrets of nature back and forth in an endless ping pong battle. Yet at times, nature whispers a clue in the form of an arrangement that has already been made perfect.

IV.

Inka and Niclas coalesce imagination and materiality. They invoke the origins of man’s intuition and symbolic actions through the meditative and visual powers of the photograph. Temporality is inherent in the work: a swarm of pink smoke and a galloping wave record the passage of time while the act of photographing suspends the endlessly charging moment. The images serve as a repository of the past, of our pagan roots and ancestral relationship with our natural surroundings, while looking ahead to the future.

V.

So where does this leave us? Inquisitive, as usual. The earth is never exhausted of all its secrets, and we never tire of hunting them down, those hot, amorphous enigmas, seeping from the ground, billowing skyward, and dissipating.

ANN-CHRISTIN BERTRAND

Opening Speech at Gallery Swedish Photography, Berlin, 2013

In the most recent work of Inka Lindergard & Niclas Holmström, the presentation of nature and landscapes and our perception of it are again the main theme around which the two artists systematically develop their artistic practice.

While the previous series, Humans Watching Humans, was still focused primarily on the observation of people observing nature, in the Saga series, nature itself became the central subject, along with the question how and by what means a beautiful landscape can to this very day cast such a powerful spell on people. By abstracting the colors of a sunset and then partially “applying” them on the depicted landscape with the aid of color filters that were held before the flash of the camera, the artists tried to accomplish a completely different kind of nature photography. This new photography put the emphasis on the playful investigation of individual components such as colors and light effects, with the aim of finding out what exactly could be responsible for the inexplicable feeling of enthrallment that we sense when observing certain natural events that are perceived as particularly beautiful – such as a sunset over the sea. Becoming Wilderness – as the meanwhile second exhibition of the two artists with Swedish Photography is entitled – continues this pursuit with the three series: Becoming Wilderness, The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth and The Pentagram Position.

Romanticism, Impressionism and travel photography

Landscape depictions are a popular subject in art history.  In the context of the work by Inka & Niclas, reference should be made primarily to landscape paintings originating from the Romanticism 1 and Impressionism periods. In particular, special attention should be paid to the Grainstacks series by Claude Monet: because when Claude Monet painted his Grainstacks  - designed and exhibited as a series – in 1890, he also focused on the analysis and presentation of light effects. Thus, he systematically examined the different moods associated with the different times of day by painting the same subject over and over again and thereby clearly demonstrating the connection between the change of light and the associated atmosphere. The main theme was not nature itself, in the form of an exceptionally beautiful landscape scene, but rather a specific natural phenomenon and its effect on the landscape as well as the atmospheric mood created by it. Monet painted this series at a time when the still very recent medium of photography was spreading inexorably as a means for the documentation of a That-is-how-it-was: People travelled, measured and photographically documented the world; “serial thinking” took hold in people’s minds and for the first time also became evident in other art genres. In terms of the history of photography, it was above all travel photography, especially prominent starting from the middle of the 19th century, that elevated the landscape theme to a preferred photographic subject. Unknown landscapes were documented to facilitate both their later examination and their remembrance. In the course of industrialization, the rail networks were extended and photographers brought pictures from the farthest reaches of the Earth. 3-D landscape shots, the so-called stereotypes, enjoyed huge popularity. Furthermore, the development of technical printing processes enabled the production of postcards, and starting from 1898, Kodak introduced a snapshot camera with roll film, the Kodak Brownie, which made it possible for the first time to carry lighter and smaller-sized materials on trips and to make do even without a dark chamber.  The medium democratized and became more popular. Nowadays many passenger aircraft carry as many cameras as passengers to the remotest corners all over the world. Every landscape, every special building and work of art have been documented photographically billions of times. From cell phone snapshots to professional photographs made with expensive equipment, travel photography has in the meanwhile become highly individualized, with landscape photographs inundating photo albums, print media and Internet forums.

The images in our minds

The immense image pools and their mass distribution through Social Media and the Internet have thus created a collective image memory, which seems to make it impossible to be unaffected by already existing images or to distance yourself from them. And this is exactly where Inka & Niclas come in with their work. Namely, they are not primarily concerned with ensuring the most accurate reproduction of a sunset or an evening dusk, as these are already available in thousands of instances, but rather choose to focus on the question of their very own perception of and approach to nature, and on the process of engaging with landscape images against the background of a subject that has been over-represented for a long time. Although there are barely any new photographic shots of landscapes to see any more: What is it that drives us to still reach for the camera to record certain lighting moods, sea views, meadows, fields and forests ourselves? What is it that stirs us emotionally, time and time again? And how can this sensation be documented photographically today, if at all possible? This slow and deliberate process of reconnecting with nature takes center stage in the work of the artists. Photoshop is only used for lighting and contrast correction; none of the photographs were falsified, regardless of how surreal or mystical they might come across. Instead, the two artists intervene actively in nature with the simplest methods to create performances or – only for the briefest moment of photographic recording – surreal seeming sculptures, which are then immediately removed and only remain visible in the photographic image. Thus, the difference to the Land Art movement is that the artists here only perform temporary interventions in nature which are directly intended for recording with the camera.

Photographic reality – physical reality

Temporary artistic activities and their photographic documentation have already been in a similar relationship in the past: In the course of the Concept Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the photography medium acquired a new meaning when it was used to photographically document and hence permanently preserve artistic performances or happenings. Thanks to the photographic documentation of these artistic events, which were only intended for a particular moment, these art forms became accessible to the art market; however, the focus always remained on the activity itself, which was considered to be the actual work of art. The photography was solely perceived as documentation. By contrast, Inka & Niclas go one step further here: although they still use photography in its traditional function for the documentation of an artistic activity, at the same time photography itself is very consciously understood as the final work of art. This becomes apparent not just from the well thought-out colors and composition of the images, but also from the type of framing used, since the frames in The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth are no longer understood as a limitation of photography, but rather as a part of it. Photography deliberately becomes the artistic end product, the actual artistic object. Consequently, when The Pentagram Position series additionally integrates the sculpture of a penguin, which appears simply white to the naked eye, but is presented as a glistening, silver-colored “bird of paradise” in the photographic image through the use of a camera flashlight, this reminds viewers not just of the surreal seeming figures, which the artists create specifically for their photographs from branches, leaves, stones and twigs. Rather, the artists make their artistic technique transparent and proceed to introduce a second level of reflection. This is confirmed in the Becoming Wilderness series, which also sees repeated use of reflective materials, whose glittering appearance only becomes visible to the human eye through the flashlight of the camera. While unperceivable to the eye in the physical world, photographic reality takes center stage here and illustrates in a playful, humorous way how very much photographic reality diverges from physical reality, and how different the two are. In addition to consciously depicting certain landscapes and natural phenomena while remaining aware of their representation both in art history and in today’s boundless image pool, the most recent work of the artist duo focuses on the playful, media-reflective analysis of our own perception mechanisms.

In this process, the two artists join a tendency in modern art photography, which makes them the representatives of a younger generation, whose work increasingly deals not only with the images in our minds, but also with the associated effects on our perception mechanisms 2. In what is essentially a playful, experimental approach, the fundamental characteristic properties of photography are used as the starting point for creating levels of reflection, which make it possible to elucidate our modern-day perception mechanisms or, in other words, our connection with reality, which is increasingly – at the latest since the digitalization of photography – constituted through images, or through a photographic reality, rather than through the actual physical reality.

 

1 Cf. also the opening speech of Heinz Stahlhut in the scope of the Humans Watching Humans exhibition at Swedish Photography, 2011

2 One example (of many) here would be the Swiss artist duo of Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, whose series, The Great Unreal (2009) put the emphasis on the difficulty of creating images of a trip through today’s America without falling back on the numerous already existing images in our minds, which are already highly familiar through the work of artists such as Robert Frank or Stephen Shore, but also through the influence of American cinema.

THERESE KELLNER

Becoming Wilderness

 

Inka Lindergård and Niclas Holmström live and work in Stockholm but together they travel, seeking places to continue their practice of creating a different representation of nature, using the photographic image to capture their landscapes.
Integral to their practice is the wish to consider what it is in a sunset over an ocean or the view of a mountain range that is so emotionally spellbinding and continues to fill us with awe? What is it that drives us to go out there and collect these images over and over again? And what mystical aura’s create the sense of awe and wonder that colours our understanding of nature?

These are some of the defining questions behind Becoming Wilderness. Inka and Niclas’ practice evolves around an exploration of the different components that constitutes the powerful psychological effects of different natural phenomena and landscapes. In their previous project Saga, which was presented in the book Watching Humans Watching, Inka and Niclas started to deconstruct the attractiveness of a sunset. They experimented by extracting its different colours and applying them to new objects and scenes, they explore the possibility of transferring the magical qualities of a sunset to a lesser, more mundane image.  This is further developed in the series The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the earth. The series consists of eight images of rocks in the shoreline dripping with lush colours and with the open horizon as their backdrop. For a moment the sunset left the sky and moved into these rocks. It is not an experience recorded with the eye but the migration of the colors has, through the testimony of the camera, been registered into a new corner of our reality. Every different rock is photographed in a new sunset. Obviously, the endeavor is not to recreate an actual sunset, instead the work lies in the time consuming and persistent process of repeatedly approaching and deconstructing its magical effects.

Colour, flash and nature seem to have travelled through Inka and Niclas’s shutter and in the process a juxtaposition appears as the wild becomes wilder and the unnatural becomes natural. We see a glowing red penguin preparing to conquer the world and a tree stump naturally walking out of the water. By experimenting with reflective materials Inka and Niclas gives parts of the land, stripes of a
cactus, a head of an eagle and a sculpture of a penguin exemption warrant to be reflected through that cameras mirror and end up in our collected registers.

Becoming Wilderness is a body of work that also includes more formal and systematic characters and sees carefully elaborated mark making that almost introduces us to the remains of some secret ritual. It is not only a positive exploration of the human perception but also a homage to the photographic medium. With this in mind Inka and Niclas introduce a spiritual element to their photography, using intuition, chance and an insistently repetitive work process in which they saturate the unexpected and the irrational. Their visual structures and collections of objects highlight a creative responsiveness and attentiveness to their environment.

 

*The title is borrowed from: “Becoming Wilderness – A topological study of Tarangire National Park, Tanzania 1890-2004″. By Camilla Årlin. Doctoral Thesis in Human Geography at Stockholms University, Sweden 2011.

ALEXXA GOTTHARDT

Of Great Wonder

 

Human experience lives in the supranatural space between solid realities and phantasmic imaginings. Mind and eye vie, play, and ultimately blur as matter turns to memory, and memory affects encounters. These are the transformative moments when fantasy magics the tangible into the metaphysical.

Inka Lindergård and Niclas Holmström’s sublime photographs capture these moments. As subjects both human and spectral suspend between reality and fantasy, we question what holds them there. In the following scapes, the answer lights as wonder.

We live in a highly oversaturated age. Images siphon through screens and pixilate to the point of hyper-reality. Phone glows and browser frames consume more visual space than bona fide surroundings. And while these upgrades offer a kind of ceaseless stun tactic, Lindergård and Holmström’s images deal in an elemental, and arguably more powerful, kind of awe. Far away from networked alterworlds, these pictures reflect the private excitement of age-old exploration.

Like their subjects, Lindergård and Holmström are out for awe-driven adventure. As they travel the world’s most visited landscapes, these peripatetic observers capture other travelers reacting to new vistas and natural phenomena. A woman gazes over the vast glacier. She is tiny against deep splits of earth and unbounded horizons. A grey tuft of hair doubles as mountain camouflage, and she melts further into the landscape. A couple lounges on a rock ledge and looks into the vast night, instead of at each other. Their skin matches their seat, and their teeshirts and shorts play chameleon with the wisps of nearby trees. Like the furtive ornithologist or the sporting arctic explorer, Lindergård and Holmström seek to preserve the perfect moment when subject and surroundings engage and harmonize. They are fascinated by that instant when travelers go still, becoming carefully placed relics of the captured experience. In this way, they are anthropologists as much as image-makers.

While similarities in process and motive can be drawn to great photographer-wanderers like Robert Frank, Joel Sternfeld, Richard Misrach, and Alec Soth, Lindergård and Holmström take a less documentary view. Where Frank and Soth map practices and places rooted in cultural, ethnic, and temporal specificities – in series like “The Americans” and “NIAGRA” — Lindergård and Holmström convey experiences where time, race, and nationality are non-existent, or at least less important. Misrach captures a natural world that is majestic and almighty, but one that is tormented by society. In lieu of mining the raw realities of contemporary living and its effect on our surroundings, Lindergård and Holmström’s animus is the sustained, soul-stirring relationship between humans and nature. It is a studied, romantic view where the camera acts as a curious set of binoculars or a quixotic kaleidoscope.

The expedition photographer Herbert G. Ponting’s accounts of arctic travels recall the awestruck immersion evoked by Lindergård and Holmström’s tourists-cum-adventurers. On a 1910 voyage alongside the infamous Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Ponting reacts to a mighty glacier:

Then I paused, for the prospect that opened out was of arresting grandeur. [...]
An eerie feeling crept over me in the presence of this majesty of silence: a feeling of exhilaration and awe, as I thought of my remoteness from that great pulsating throng of life so many thousands of miles away. The desire to break the magic spell was irresistible, so I shouted a loud’ Coo-ee!’ To my astonishment the precipice immediately responded, and shouted back Coo-ee!’ It was thus I discovered one of the finest echoes I have heard in any land.

It is this kind of wonderment that powers—and is gorgeously rendered—in the following images. A surprise of great beauty; an exhilarating, fearful moment; rapt awe; and a happy conversation between a human and nature is revealed in sweeping tableaus, lush color fields, and small, but undeniably engaged individuals, couples, and groups. Whether deeply involved in the conversation, or expectant that it will happen, the subjects bare a desire for this connection.

Patterns in the actions and aesthetics of Lindergård and Holmström’s wayfarers reinforce these moments of fundamental rapport. Subconsciously blending with their new environments, many wear the colors that surround them. Others wander off alone, freezing in the face of a handsome view or inviting curiosity. Some gather together, forming constellations that map topographies. These habits, set in big landscapes with radiant color schemes, iconize the subjects as testaments to primal bonds.

Lindergård and Holmström give us more than observation of experience – they seem to divulge what, and how, their subjects see. Those images without people might embody individual impressions – micro views of realities extended and accentuated. A deep-red rock oozes fluorescent sherbet, or the remnant goo of melted sun. Icy pink stalactites stand guard at the entrance of a Yeti’s playfort, or double as the maw of some ancient sea monster. As wonder overcomes time and place, Lindergård and Holmström invoke the abiding mysticism inspired by human-nature relationships.

John Ruskin, a critic-philosopher known for his deep trust in nature’s ability to arouse creativity, would have been excited by Lindergård and Holmström’s images. As our photographers zoom in and out of human experiences, Ruskin’s 1856 conjuring of an aspirational stone feels wonderfully present: “For a stone, when it is examined, will be found a mountain in miniature.” Through Lindergård and Holmström’s lens, stones become wild, sensory, intimate curiosities – instances of wonderment made from wandering.

MATTHIAS HARDER

Coloured Mirrors, Pink Clouds

 

Landscape photography has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years, but in quite different manifestations. When we are confronted with an uninhabited, inhospitable ice-covered landscape in which a mirror reflecting the surrounding landscape is unexpectedly glimpsed in the snow, this is clearly something special. At first, the reflection appears to be an image within an image, yet at the upper left corner of the mirror there is a flash of light, which could be from the rising or setting sun or maybe a camera flash. Occasionally, it is only mirror fragments situated in the image centre, which reflect the surrounding landscape – repeatedly refracted in the most literal sense. The art of Inka Lindergård and Niclas Holmström represents an playful-artistic intervention, but one which is only carried out with and for the camera.

In this respect, the Scandinavian artist duo espouse more closely the values of Collier Schorr, or Andy Goldsworthy who arranges meticulous, temporary sculptures in ice or wood for his landscape photos, than the approach of their considerably more radical American Land Art colleagues, who sometimes even blast away whole sections of mountains in order to stage a parallel formality within the landscape.

In other pictures in the “Saga” series, which we are discussing here, we observe a grey, oily liquid exuding from the Earth and bubbling to the surface or pink clouds drifting by. It soon becomes clear that most of these situations are not pre-existing, they have been staged even if in this case the coloured clouds are merely an artificial intensification of the normal expressive colouration of midsummer night sunsets in northern Norway. The two artists, who simply call themselves Inka and Niclas, alter the landscape only briefly with slight interventions, according to their own very personal visual concepts. This also applies to the strange colours of the rocks in the snow. We are witnessing neither chemical accidents nor climate irregularities; this is nothing more than colour from a spray can or pink smoke, which tints the landscape for the duration of a photo exposure. Sometimes, it is merely colour filters placed over the flash, which falsify the existing colours. Yet even given this background, the fascinating images lose nothing of their radiance and impact.

Inka and Niclas always work together on large-scale series of exposures where intention and focus are different each time. If one compares, for instance, the individual images in the sequence “Watching Humans Watching”, it becomes apparent with what restraint and stamina the two photograph their fellow humans; usually from behind and thus de-individualised, in a number of locations, mostly in the Far North. This is the destination for many, particularly at midsummer, in order to experience an exceptional phenomenon of the light. During these “magical” nights, the sun rarely or never sets, producing a sunset with a corresponding intensity of colour – myriad red and golden tones – which lasts for hours. To shoot their photo series, mostly during daylight hours, the two photographers sometimes waited a very long time until the emergence of a particular colour combination of the protagonists’ clothing within the frame. It sometimes strikes one as slightly absurd that people should gather at this spot, and the question arises as to what they are actually looking for. Inka and Niclas investigate human behaviour with a subtle voyeurism: it appears almost like an open air theatre performance, yet in reality no one has been cast in a role and nothing has been added. Both series – “Watching Humans Watching” and “Saga” – are linked by the subject of unspoiled nature and it is surprising to learn that most pictures in both series were taken at the same locations. And so, as a logical consequence, they are closely interwoven in this book and – in spite of their heterogeneous nature – form a kind of entity.

By contrast, practically everything in “Saga” has been contrived. The word “Saga” happens to mean “fairy tale” or “myth” in Swedish, and according to the artists, it functions as a kind of umbrella term under which various approaches to a series of pictures can be summarised. The two do, indeed, transport us to an enigmatic world of visual surprises.

Some things, such as the mirrors, were added to supplement the picture; others are somewhat more complex in construction, such as a sort of wooden structure made up of thin, pale wood slats which, tapering in several layers into the picture’s depth, is held in front of the camera. This construction suggests an image depth, and our gaze is directed towards the blue sea’s horizon in the centre of the improvised framework – which is the latter’s actual purpose. It is as if we are standing next to the photographers on a pebbled beach, somewhere at the Baltic coast maybe, with the sea stretching out before us beneath a cloudy sky. Only with the unusual combination of the two pictorial elements – northern European coastal landscape and “floating” wooden slats – does a tension and explosive force emerge. Inka and Niclas act out this visual idea in the same or similar locations with wooden frames of various sizes, sometimes stacked, so that the vistas suggest independent pictures within the picture. In this particular case, the whole scenery is tinged an unreal shade of blue.

We find also in the series light-coloured ropes, fixed at several points within dark landscapes, which seem to trace the outline of a hill. Here too, we are being presented with a particular direction in which to read the image, one which we automatically follow and which simultaneously gives substance to the hill. Were we to come across such a “tension” when walking through an unspoilt natural landscape, we might imagine that we had found some primitive geological survey or traces of extra-terrestrial visitors. Without a scale for reference, some proportions remain a mystery. In the case of the hill, for example, it could just as easily be an enormous mountain viewed from a greater distance.
In “Saga” the interesting (and absolutely essential) fact is that the artists never modify their interventions with Photoshop afterwards. Digital post-production is only carried out in the form of the usual contrast or brightness adjustments, never to enhance pictorial elements. The material used for the interventions in nature is removed after shooting the picture or pictures; none of the open-air settings remains for longer than an hour. Both the arranged objects and the natural setting are objects and motifs of equal importance in the picture. By contrast, in the previously discussed series, people who were until recently active subjects only become objects once the image comes into existence.
As the artists themselves say, they dispense with labelling the location and date so that the series retains an air of enigma; on the other hand, the “Saga” picture titles are simply numbered throughout. The photos were actually taken between 2009 and 2011 in a number of different national parks in the USA, Iceland and northern Scandinavia. The (as yet unfinished) project remains an ongoing process within which very little is predictable and allows both artists – with the exception of spontaneous reactions to particular situations – to also work in a considered manner.
Behind the surprising, apparently scientific natural phenomena is hence an ironic comment. The added objects or natural materials collected nearby turn the concrete image into a thing of mystery, something imbued with symbolism; occasionally resulting in a pseudo-romantic transfiguration. While in one series, people seem to be on a romantic search for the sublime in a perfect landscape, in the other this longing for edification and pathos is paraphrased. A common thread can be sensed throughout: the photographers’ own real fascination with nature.