Sculpting with useless sunsets

Swedish artist duo Inka & Niclas manipulate the visual mechanics of nature photographs and playfully examine the everyday usage of landscape imagery. The artists probe the desire to consume nature through travels and photography, and present oneself as being in harmony with nature. The exhibition Extensions consist of a combination of different bodies of work that revolve around this central theme.

The photographic sculptures Sunset Photography consist of landscapes and sunsets solidified in a state of wetness. Browsing through their photographic catalog Inka and Niclas picked out the panoramas they photographed on impulse, never to be looked at again. The digital waste that fills up our phones, are here used as a raw material. The glass-like, slimy creases of the sculptures hide and obscure. Only parts of the scenery are visible to us, yet it is easy to fill in the blanks, the image has been produced, shared and seen so many times before.

In the mechanics of traveling and photography, a beautiful photo of a beach means that more photos will be taken of that same beach. This is true also in the case of the series Extensions (that lends its name to the exhibition), where the artists, before leaving home, identified the most popular spots at the tropical islands of Saô Tomé and Principe. In the works, the flashgun has left its usual position and turned 180 degrees, now aiming straight towards the photographer and us as viewers. The light striking the lens creates a sparkle as from a diamond. With the addition of extra bling to the hyper-romantic tropical beaches depicted, the artists points at the circulation of nature imagery as a commodity.

Extensions tap into the vibrant, glossy realm of fashion and style. The thin, dry, almost transparent prints on hair, move with the slightest breath. The title is descriptive, yet it plays with the notion of social positioning and building one’s identity by wearing your experiences and exposing the moments as a status marker through one’s body. Not only a hair extension in its most concrete sense but an identity extension that reveals who we want to be.

Family Portraits is a collection of self-portraits taken of the artists and their two children, in idyllic panoramic settings. All dressed up in full reflective body suits that bounce the light of the flash back into the camera lens, the shapes of what we read as a family constellation indicate anonymity. The camera that was supposed to capture them instead erased them. The role of nature as an enduring source of idealization remains untouched.