“Salång PåGång” – “Goings On” – in my home studio on Cultural Night 2016
Or “Salång PåGång” in Swedish is what I always do at the Cultural Night in Lund, every year on the third Saturday of September.
That’s the day and night of the year when all the inhabitants are on their feet to consume cultural events – and culture is defined extremely broadly, including for all ages, all nationalities and all cultural expressions such as eating…
Since I have to take care of my visitors to my studio, I have not experienced the incredible diversity people tell me about – but I remember it faintly from before I opened my studio space in 2009. It was so exciting – dance, poetry, art, music, performances, happenings, you name it!
Salon “Goings On” literally means that I show what I am working on these days; that evening I have no theme-based exhibition but all kinds of works on the walls, including unfinished ones, experiments, big and small prints, test prints and – well, whatever I am working on these weeks and months.
It’s a peep into my studio and working methods with a lot of “A.P.” – Artist’s Proofs, testprints rather than final limited editions.
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This year my visitors will see a couple of A1-sized prints (roughly 90 x 60 cm) – I print everything myself and this is the largest I can do on my printer – of my abstract works; the size means that the incredibly small details will be more visible than the smaller prints I have had on display earlier.
The Rouen Cathedral – Monet, Lichtenstein and me
Next, there will also be two A1 prints of my Rouen Cathedral Series from last year. Again the vibrant details will be more visible since the formats are larger and improved printing.
I am very proud of this series which builds upon Claude Monet’s famous works from the 1890s as well as on Roy Lichtenstein’s classical series of that Cathedral from 1969 that I happen to be the happy owner of and therefore have studied for soon 50 years.
I’m sure Lichtenstein would have used modern digital techniques like I do today – but at the time he only had the halftone screen or dot shapes to work with. Here is a shot of this 10-piece series with one of Lichtenstein’s 6 pieces to the left.
There will also be some travel photography – some documentary and some heavily processed. Earlier this year I did some hiking in the mountains of the incredibly beautiful, tiny state of Montenegro.
This doesn’t mean classical nature photography; one, I am not really interested in that and, two, that isn’t compatible with being part of a group and moving on a time table.
But that does not prevent me from shooting. To not take photos on such a trip is unthinkable to me.
Here is one of 5-6 shots you’ll see on the walls on Cultural Night, some of which are deliberatedly out of focus when taken them and trying thereby to catch the foggy atmosphere in those dark grayish and majestic mountains.
And – yes – if you think that I am inspired by the amazing early photo paintings by Gerhard Richter you are quite right.
I’ve just returned from my fourth visit since 2012 to Iran, a wonderful country with limitless photo opportunities. I’ve not at all collected my impressions or even categorized my more than 3000 images from that trip.
It’s all for a later photo book about that country and its people and for a consolidated exhibition with my best shots from there. And I am in no hurry about it.
But I have chosen a few rather documentary shots simply because I am eager to share with many who have asked: How is it actually over there?
And I then say: Come and have a look and I’ll also tell you some of my other impressions. Iran is so much more – and more exciting – that anything you have ever read in the stereotyping, negative Western media.
Beyond anything, it is a lovely human encounter with friendly, curious, talkative, open-minded people at virtually every corner. So, there will be people on the walls in the midst of abstract images, blurred nature photography.
And there will be one more thing: photo paintings.
Photo paintings – “Photings”?
Well, that is what I call them so far. Like so many before me – one of them being legendary British pop-and-much-more artist, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney – I’m very curious about the blurred boundaries between painting and photography.
Today’s great photography often has a heavy influence from painting and you can always make painting on the basis of photos – or use them in collages like, say Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg did.
I’ve experimented for more than decade with Photoshop and its digital brushes. (Who has not if interested in the relations between the two?). However, I have come to the conclusion that I needed some other types of brushes to achieve what I had in front of my inner eye.
And so, my new toy is Akvis OilPaint brushes which are not only relatively easy to use but also offers infinitely more opportunities in the art field than I have been able to discover in Photoshop.
No, Akvis is not one of those cheap software that converts your photography in less than a second to look like a van Gogh or Monet. I consider that sort of thing fake and boring. It’s a software that operates totally on the basis of what is in your original photographic file.
You choose among numerous tool sets like “pastel” or “classical” and within each you can then adjust many parameters like length of the brush, its breadth, curvature, simplicity, random strokes, etc. – leading to having literally thousands upon thousands of options at your disposal on your screen – to create what you want, in your own style.
It’s all new to me and I am only a beginner but – why not? – try it, hang something and listen to people’s comments.
I’m always happy when someone asks in a surprised tone: But is that really a photograph? And I can say – yes, it is at the bottom, all I do is indeed photo-based but whether it looks like a photography or not is an entirely different – and difficult – question. Remember, I do photo graphics!
People I met at Victoria and Albert
Finally, I show some completely dead sculptures – bustes – as well as Buddha, Jesus and a few others I met and photographed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in May.
Dreamy, moving or shaking – thanks to multiple exposures, totally weird colours and I have absolutely no explanations or philosophy. We’ve all gone through a museum with stone sculptures of people of the more or less ancient past. I’ve always thought it was boring (sorry!).
So, I got the idea that perhaps I could bring some life to them while also entertaining myself. Some of the original were wildly under-exposed (and I never use flash for anything) and it’s challenging to see what you can make out of even a sub-quality shot. And then print them in larger formats. I’ve written about that rainy Sunday afternoon at the V & A if you want a bit more.
What else do I put on display on Cultural Night in Lund?
Well, the above should be enough, shouldn’t it? But there will be other images and some presented in old second-hand frames. (You know I always hang the print directly on the wall – simple as that and avoiding glass and all its problems).
And I have only matte images on Hahnemühle and Canson papers, no glossy stuff. Remember, it is photo graphics.
Well there is the only room I know of with art photography on the walls and 1200 books about peace, including Gandhi’s Collected Works (4 meters…) in the middle of the room with memorabilia from around the world that reflect my ongoing parallel life as a peace researcher and mediator. Peace photography?
And there are lots of photo books.
Some visitors tell me that my studio – which is at the first floor in our villa – is not at all like a more or less commercial gallery but more like a home. That’s one of the best compliments I can get, really.
It opens on September 17 at 17 and will be on for about a month. But open only by prior appointment after the 17th.
And take with you/download a bar code reader like ScanLife for iPhone or Android . I provide QR codes to links where you may read more while you are there or afterwards having it all in your smartphone when you want later. (See below the one for this article).
And, yes, this one too is a photograph! From Marrakech.
I almost forgot to tell that there will be two mini-lectures and debates.
19:00-19:30 Why abstract photography? and
21:00-21:30 Photo-lution – the revolution in photography that affects everything.
Happy if you sign up in advance at the Facebook event page; that helps us plan a bit.
A warm welcome to my home studio…
QR code for this article – hold up you phone with the QR scanner active and you’ll be directed to this blog post immediately, no need to copy or write down the url. Very handy!