Saturday, May 21, 2016
Observingart: Sunken Gardens Helene Schmitz at Willas Contemporary, Oslo
Image size: 150 x 112 cm
With frame: 155 x 117 cm
Edition 5 + 2 AP
"Sunken Gardens" by Helene Schmitz - on displayed at Willa's Contemporary in Oslo
- is a veritable visual and mental kick!
It's like entering a world both familiar, but manufactured in a strange way. Nature is warlike, swallowing culture for lunch. Buildings and other symbols of culture goes with the tide. Nature takes over, overcomes culture in the pictures. They are great, both in format, curating and not least because of the photographic craft. I wandered around the Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia years ago. There I felt the same presence of a nature that requires back, filling the void left by manmade culture. For Schmitz pictures are about the absence of people and the overwhelming presence of nature. Where Asians are trying to find the balance between nature and culture, the nature Western culture becomes brutal because it has provided no room for coexistence, rather battle and war. When we also manipulate nature, it strikes even more brutally back at culture. Left in Schmitz pictures are memories of culture and an overwhelming, almost frightening silence and the dominance of nature. It is - in my opinion - best expressed in black and white. It really gets the vegetation to breath of silent revenge. In the great plant portraits, thoughts fly to the ongoing Mapplethorpe + Munch exhibition at the Munch Museum. Schmitz conveys - unlike - Mapplethorpe a subtle, feminine interpretation of nature. She is therefore interestingly enough more open to a dialogue with culture / nature than Mapplethorpes loaded, homoerotic expressions.
No wonder the only thing that breaks the exhibition quiet and meditative rest at Willa Contemporary is the undergrowth of red dots.
My wife thinks: absolutely fantastic, it gave me a kick. Black and white pictures: spectacular!
Schmitz was born 1960 in Stockholm, and holds a BA in Film & Art Theory from Stockholm University in Sweden. Cinematography is a major source of inspiration for Schmitz in her exploration of architecture and spatiality. She is interested in spaces as carriers of meaning, memories and references.