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Anja Niemi works in her new series again with self-portaits and self-identity. After 'The Woman Who Never Existed' already appeared this January at Photo San Francisco, gallery exhibitions in Paris, Oslo and London are soon to follow (shoot at Gallery Oslo, 9 March – 30 April, Galerie Photo 12 Paris, 16 March – 22 April, The Little Black Gallery London, 4 – 27 May).
The photographer was inspired from Italian theater actress Eleonora Duse, who is often seen as a pioneer of method acting. Several American acting schools refer to The Duse as the protagonist of the purist stylist device of expressing herself using only her body and without unnecessary props. The actress was very reserved and hardly gave any interviews. She once told a New York journalist, ‘away from the stage I do not exist.’
'The Woman Who Never Existed' tells the storyof an actress who lives only for her audience and vanishes when no one is looking.
Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi is considered ‘one of the most compelling modern artists working today’. (British Journal of Photography). Niemi always works alone. Photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her photographs. She has published two books: Photographing In Costume (The Little Black Gallery, 2015) and Short Stories (Jane & Jeremy, 2016). Her third, The Woman Who Never Existed, will be published by Jane & Jeremy in February 2017. Niemi (b. 1976) studied at the London College of Printing and Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York, and now lives in Norway.
23.03.2017 // show complete article
“The power of the photographer behind the camera and the choice of models, direct our time and the image of our history,” says the Grundemark Nilsson Gallery about their new group exhibition STRIKE A POSE,” where the focus is on the act of posing as well as on the power of the photographer.” Hip Swedish fashion photographers who produce all over the world such as Sandra Freij, Carl Bengtsson, Julia Hetta and Elisabeth Toll are on display, plus classics including Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, Ellen von Unwerth, Albert Watson, and Christer Strömholm, who photographed transvestites in Paris in the 1960s.
“All of these photographers have a dignity and an expression that shines through in the images – in how they direct, how they use the light and who they choose to work with. They show their own expressions in a world of excessive competition, and they see a person in the model and a model in the person.” The opening was on 17 March, and the photos are on display through the end of April (Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Sibyllegatan 26, Stockholm). Details on the individual photographers and works are available from the gallery here on GoSee :
Christer Strömholm (1918-2002, Sweden) never photographed fashion but his images of transvestites taken in Paris at Plache Blanche in the 1960s, has an air of beauty and darkness to them, in a combination that inspires all kinds of creativity. Strömholm’s photographs of these strong personalities that he managed to capture, strike you with awe. He often had a sharp subject in his images but it wouldn’t have been good enough if he couldn’t say it had something significant to it, the “Image with a capital I”, (the Photograph with a capital P), a thesis (an idea) that he returned to throughout his career and which has influenced generations of photographers after him. In the exhibition, we can see a clear resemblance between two photographs by Strömholm and Lindbergh, taken with the interval of 35 years.
The icon Kate Moss, one of the most photographed models in the world, is portrayed in Marrakech, 1993 by Albert Watson (b. 1942 Great Britain). The photograph was taken for the German Vogue and is today one of his most popular photographs. By the end of a day while shooting in Marrakech, Watson suggested they would take some nude photographs on the rooftop of a house, and Moss said yes. Both Watson and Moss agree that the photographs they created there on the roof are some of the best images of her ever taken. The sunlight and the natural beauty that Watson captured brings another great photographer to the mind, Peter Lindbergh (b. 1944 Germany), whose work also is shown in the exhibition Strike a Pose. Another supermodel, almost naked, is posing sexy but with an attitude for Lindbergh. The woman in the photograph is the model and actress Milla Jovovich, who Lindbergh recurrently photographed during the years. He has been a great admirer of the well-known supermodels of the 90s, and he continuously does fashion shoots with them for the big magazines. In a time of exaggerated retouch in magazines, he uses a kind of romantic realism in his photographs and tries to redefine the norm of beauty. In his editorials he often photographs in fair daylight and almost creates short film sequences through the series of photo stills that he shoots.
The Swedish star, fashion photographer Carl Bengtsson (b. 1952 Sweden), also uses natural light and often natural make-up on his models. He has been photographing with new techniques as well as analogue photography during his career and bestows an astonishing nature in his works. A distinct characteristic in the book Portraits, 2011, by Carl Bengtsson is how he lets the personality of the models shine through in his photography, very much like Lindbergh and Watson.
The choice of models is of great importance and in Julia Hetta´s (b. 1972 Sweden) photographs, it is stunning how timeless the beauty of the models are. Hetta discourages artificial light and works almost solely with natural daylight and long exposures, not unlike photographers in previous generations. The way Hetta manages the light in her works is reminiscent of old baroque paintings where the portrayed sort of appears through a quiet, pitch-black darkness. The ideal of the body has changed during time and Hetta’s engagement in the business is clearly stated in the way she chooses her models, preferably showing curves and street casted models then supermodels.
Tranquillity is not the first characteristics of Ellen von Unwerth’s (b. 1954 German) works. On the contrary, play and action, often with sexual connotations and a sense of humor is in the spotlight. Unwerth herself started (her career) as a model and she is very much a participant in the images she makes. There is no distance and no limits. As in one of Carl Bengtsson’s photographs in this exhibition, Unwerth has managed to capture an aura of the 20s, showing a woman in a black bob and smokey eyes. Unwerth is never retained when it comes to working with contrasts, neither in her color images nor her black and whites. Your gaze is drawn to images, where black is as black as midnight and red the bloodiest red. There is a strong energetic feeling that is conveyed to the viewer. To have a look in one of her books gives you a visual high.
Elisabeth Toll (b. 1970 Sweden) started her career working with documentary but ended up in fashion, portrait and landscape photography. In the exhibition Strike a Pose, these three interests intertwine. Playful photographs of a model and elephants in an open field along with the horizon in the distance… One more time and the elephant is going to be angry is a must see. David Sims’ (b. 1966 Great Britain) career literally exploded in the beginning of the 90s thanks to magazines like The Face and i-D, and he is a master in the studio when it comes to striking and capturing a pose.
Helmut Newton (1920-2004, Germany/USA) created his own world of beauty, luxury, eroticism and decay. His way of working is unique, and his photographs are recognized as very Newton, rarely mistaken for anyone else’s. The image in the exhibition Strike a Pose is a classic piece and has everything you expect from a Newton photograph. The unconventional pose and sadomasochistic flirt has made the image well-known and very admired.
Along with these photographs, works by Swedish photographers Tekla Severin and Sandra Freij are also exhibited. Tekla Severin (b.1981 Sweden) is an upcoming star who with her passion for the color palette of the 1970’s, together with her choice of location, transforms her fashion photos into a interior selection of sweets. Her set design is like a dollhouse and even a trained eye needs to look closely to recognize that it actually is a photograph. Sandra Freij (b. 1975 Sweden) is represented by the Swedish agent LundLund, and we have chosen to exhibit a selection of photographs from a campaign shot indoors but still remind us of a heaving landscape.
22.03.2017 // show complete article
To kick off the spring season, POLKA GALLERY on Rue Saint Gilles in Paris presents two exciting exhibitions which invite to dream and linger. 'Reverb' shows works by photographer and songwriter Nicolas Comment, which conduct a dialogue between literature, poetry and an illustrated book as an art project. “I was filming a lot back then. My montage practice also inspired the layout of these books. Sometimes I feel like they are the still images of a movie I never shot... I reread and intertwined images, like one would do with words and rhymes in order for them to dialogue in a new way, like in a poem.”
Accompanying the exhibition, Polka Gallery together with Filigranes and Chic Medias published a catalogue (limited edition, 400 copies only). Nicolas Comment can by the way be seen performing live in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on 20. Mai 2017.
In parallel, Polka Gallery presents the first monothematic exhibition of Anglo-American Sze Tsung Nicolas Leong in France titled 'Horizons'. Polka on the exhibition : “Shot with view camera, these landscapes follow the same compositional principle. Men are absent – or barely visible – and the limit of what we can see in front of us, the limit of our experience, where the surface of the Earth meets the sky, is always located on the lower third of the image. The same laws of scale, perspective, escape plan, colors and horizontality rule each composition. The panoramic shots are exhibited in a row for the horizon of each image to merge and create a perfectly synoptic and simultaneous view, a representation system that disrupts the rules of framing as well as our cognitive limits. From one horizon to another, our eyes follow a path guided by the thread of divine proportion.
Beyond the optical frontier materialized by the horizon, Sze Tsung Leong’s journey is also a magical investigation as well as a metaphysical experience. Photographing the horizon is like pushing it further away; capturing a precise moment in time to overcome our blindness; staring at the frontier between the natural and the supernatural, the here and beyond, the profane and the sacred. No horizon without landscape. And no representation without horizon. This distant, romantic and magic line investigated by the artist both locates and anchors the viewer in space, leaving him faced with his finiteness, loneliness, dizziness, and destiny.
Sze Tsung Nicolas Leong has been working on landscape for more than 15 years. He visited and photographed hundreds of places around the world from giant metropolis bathed in fog or mineral light, to clouded sea landscapes, icy panoramas, touristic parks, deserts, rivers, tower fields and dried lands. Here, he modestly shares with us the images of a (very) big world tour, with some clues yet no precise geographic indications: because locations do not matter. Paris, Toledo, Cairo, Chicago, The Ganges and the Garonne, a natural reserve in Kenya, a salt plain in Bolivia, a frozen lake in Iceland or a suburb in Beijing.
Nicolas Comment Reverb, 18 March - 6 May, 2017
Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong Horizons, 18 March - 6 May, 2017
12 rue Saint Gilles, 75003 Paris
16.03.2017 // show complete article