Daniel Gustav Cramer
Marie Lund with Åbäke
Gathering together a group of artists who work between distinctly sculptural and photographic practices, this exhibition focuses on the portrayal of sculpture and sculptural issues through photography. From Stavanger with Love departs from and plunges into a tangled nexus of concerns, legacies and lines of investigation. These include (in no particular order): a heightened awareness of the circulation of images; doubts and uncertainties regarding the phenomenological experience of the object vis-à-vis photographic and digital reproduction, which is nevertheless accompanied by an on-going belief in the necessity of unique, three-dimensional objects; an indirect and highly mediated experience of art history through reproduction; sculpture and objects as conceptual, linguistic and in some cases indexical documents; and lastly, the sense that confining objects and sculptures to two dimensions does not necessarily reduce or limit them, but renders them only more complex, and in some cases, opaque, and stranger than ever.
Unlike the large-scale survey “The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today,” which took place at the MoMA in New York in 2010, and which sought to explore the relationship between sculpture and photography in relatively broad strokes, this exhibition concentrates on sculptures that exist solely as a photograph or an image. Not necessarily documents, these photographs and images are the sculptures themselves. What is more, this exhibition could be said to represent a blind spot in The Original Copy, in that, despite the fact that some of these artists, such as Giuseppe Gabellone, have been engaging these questions for over a decade, they were not featured in the MoMA survey.
Known for his creation of sculptures to be photographed and then destroyed, which go on to exist only as photographs, the Paris-based, Italian artist Giuseppe Gabellone is the pioneer of this group. For the current exhibition, he will show two works Untitled (2009), which consist of found images silkscreened on fabrics, placed on metal armatures, and photographed outdoors. Registering the wind, the sculptures introduce a distinct temporal element into the equation. The element of time plays an explicit role in the German, Berlin-based Daniel Gustav Cramer’s photo, Untitled (Snowball) IV, 2012, which depicts a snowball column of Berlin’s first snow. Time cannot be disassociated from the New York-based, American artist Sara VanDerBeek close-cropped photos Baltimore Dancers Nine and Ten (2012) of dancer’s legs, yet the marmoreal, volumetric quality of the works are clearly preoccupied with a markedly sculptural quality of the human anatomy. The English, London-based artist Michael Dean’s work is known to conjoin the body with a self-invented typography in the form of both sculpture and photography. Titled claires arms at night (working title) (2008), the photo featured here consists of a phrase translated into Dean’s personal typography, which, fashioned out of black balloons, is evocative of a Chinese ideogram. The temporary configuration of the balloons is naturally suggestive of the fleeting pose of human anatomy. The body is made present through its own conspicuous absence in the Danish, Berlin-based Nina Beier’s work The Demonstrators (Balancing Potato) (2011). Merging a stock photo of a potato with a large conference table, Beier offers up an usual support for a highly interpretable image, while investing it with an outsized three dimensionality. The English artist Becky Beasley, who is based in St Leonard’s-on-Sea, has a long-standing relationship with the sculptural capacity of photography. Here she exhibits three silver gelatin photos, Build, Night (2012), which depicts from three different angles, a diagrammatic scenario of three, partially costructed small wood and glass sculptures, as if the images where somehow instructional. The Danish, London-based artist Marie Lund collaborated with the designer Åbäke to realize the prints, entitled Turtles (2012) in the exhibition. These works depict found and flea-market bought sculptures, whose damaged state Lund has taken to its logical conclusion, willfully transforming the figurative sculptures into largely unrecognizable abstractions.
Thus does the work of each artist offer a highly individualistic contribution to a specific discourse of sculpture as conceived for and perceived through the lens of a camera.
Installation photography: Erik Sæter Jørgensen