Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mirrors – or Lauren Bacall in Bilbao

How often do we stop to not only see what is in a shop window behind the glass but also what on the shiny surface of the window pane? Have you ever counted how many more or less blurred images you can see in one window? Moved a little back and forth and felt it was almost like a kaleidoscope?

I take interest in mirrors!

Here is an example, a photo of a furniture shop window decorated with a easel on which there is a painting of actress Lauren Bacall. The shop window also show what is opposite on the other side of the street, name the totally amazing Guggenheim Museum. I’ve taken you to Bilbao, Spain!

 

Bacallinbilbao

© Jan Oberg 2009

“Bacall in Bilbao” 2009
Inkjet print on Canson fine arts paper or on canvas
Formats & prices (excl postage):
A5 (148 × 210 mm) – Edition unlimited, 20 US$
A4 (210 × 297 mm) – Edition 50, US$ 115
A3+ (329 x 483 mm) – Edition 25, US$ 225
A1 (610 x 910 mm) – Edition 10, US$ 750
Signed and numbered.
Comes with print authenticity documentation.
Information/Order: janoberg@mac.com

Mirrors can be seen as mere reflections, but there is more to them. When you see a person face-to-face and then see that same person’s face-in-mirror, you see how that mirror reshapes that face. Glasses of, say, shop windows also mirror what is opposite but at the same time you see what is behind the glass. That comes closer to collage, or layers of images. Its third function is to be glass that catches light, for instance the sun’s rays.

If we stick to the the idea that seeing and re-seeing the world around us is a major reason why we create images (photography as well as painting, drawings, etc), such more or less shiny surfaces become fascinating: new worlds and new combinations appear for those with a searching eye!

I’ve printed the Lauren Bacall mirror image on fine arts paper (see above) but als as a unique inkjet print on aluminium (one of print media I experiment with).

I did that to experiment with the “double” mirror effect. Aluminium has a semi-shiny surface and, thus, adds yet another dimension: the way this mirror image comes across to you depends very much on how light falls on it, on where you stand in relation to the aluminium, and even on which colours you wear in front of it. Thus, many pictures in one!

Bacallinbilbao_steel

© Jan Oberg 2009

Info and price

I hope you’ll search for more mirrors in your life and see more of our enigmatic world than your own face!

 

 

Gerhard Richter, Natalia and me

Sometimes a few quite unrelated aspects of one’s life come together and create a new synthesis.

I am in Basel, Switzerland, twice a year to teach at the World Peace Academy and I am fortunate to know Natalia B, a young Russian, who studies European affairs in that beautiful art-packed city. When there, I take photos of her, mainly portraits.

Last year, the Tinguely Museum in Basel held an exhibition on the themes of art and cars and car culture and we went there together also to see whether that unique environment would function as backdrop for some pictures. And this is where Gerhard Richter, Germany’s perhaps most important living artist, comes into the picture – literally speaking. 

One of the paintings in the exhibition was his Two Fiats (1964) driving fast through a wood. Many of his paintings appear almost as photographic works. So does this one. I got the spontaneous idea of asking Natalia to stand in front of painting. I admit it was a daring experiment in front of – or inside – a master’s work.

Natalia20-gerhard-richter_cp

Natalia in Gerhard Richter’s painting “Two Fiats”
© Jan Oberg 2011

In contrast to the blurred trees and moving cars, she became a fixed, sharp element. Natalia’s very straight-backed pose offers a third white, vertial figure corresponding with the trees in the background.

I deliberately did not place her between the two cars, and later I cropped the image slightly to avoid making it a photo of Richter’s painting but, rather, using it as a photography.

I avoided flash to give it a soft character and leave no shadow on the painting itself.

Painting and photography are two very different, but related, methods to see the world. For instance, Gerhard Richter and David Hockney have grappled with these two media all the time. I am interested in exploring how they are – can be – related.

I believe I caught a young woman in the midst of a blurred, fast moving world. I also put a reflecting human being in the foreground of technology and nature with no anthropocentrism intended.

 

 

Natalia in Gerhard Richter’s Painting “Two Fiats”
Inkjet print on Canson fine arts paper or on canvas
Formats & prices (excl postage):
A5 (148 × 210 mm) – Edition unlimited, 20 US$
A4 (210 × 297 mm) – Edition 50, US$ 115
A3+ (329 x 483 mm) – Edition 25, US$ 225
A1 (610 x 910 mm) – Edition 10, US$ 750
Signed and numbered.
Comes with print authenticity documentation.
Information/Order: janoberg@mac.com
© Jan Oberg