Paris photo 200616.-19.11.2006, Carrousel du Louvre /Salle Soufflot, stand L4
Galleria Heino will present works by the following artist:
Lost in the Woods
Heavy like weights, balloons hang from a tree, nearly pulling its branches down. In another image the balloons reach up, as if attempting to pull the dead tree of the ground. Works like these, Tree Structure 1 & 2 from the series Interventions (2005), by Axel Antas present us nature that is slightly manipulated. With touches that are often less noticeable than the balloons the scenes are subtly pushed into a frame of signification. Photographs and drawings by Antas draw, thus, attention to the processes in which nature becomes visible and meaningful to us.
In front of the works from Interventions-series I find myself in the woods, surrounded by clusters of trees and open parkland between them. Lush greenery frames my view in some images, while in others the trees and the grass are dotted with dry leaves, yellows and browns. I am enclosed in the varying shades of green. There are no grand vistas, no spectacular sceneries. Instead, the spaces I enter as a viewer are places of events. Patches of fog share the clearings in the woods with me. It appears like cotton wool wrapped around a tree trunk in Cloud Formation Suspended. The fog hangs, immaterial yet opaque and impenetrable. In Echoes 1-5 it seems to be rolling slowly towards me over the grass. When the rays of sun hit the fog in Forest Mist with Light Beam the magic becomes pronounced - the clouds seem to mark points, where something is about to emerge. Or, where something has just vanished, leaving as its trace merely a puff of smoke. I am left standing there, before or after the event.
In the Whiteout-series (2004-2006), I find some wide-open views over landscapes. But only after peering into milky whiteness for some time, moving around in front of the large prints as if searching for a way in through the veil of white. Even in its semi-transparency the fog here appears smooth and solid, thick and heavy. Is the cloudiness in my eyes or in the view? Or is it between me and the landscape, like stuff that binds us together yet keeps us apart. I cannot be absorbed into the world seen through the window of the photograph, yet in order to see it at all I have to draw closer. I am drawn to it. I keep on adjusting my position in relation to the image, in order to see.
With this veil over them the landscapes seem far away, distant and untouchable. They have lost some of their materiality and clear spatial coordinates, the usual anchors for viewing and reading. In the Interventions, then again, the fog forms blind spots in the scenes swallowing bits of the visible spaces. In nature fog makes distances disappear, it comes close and brushes against. Fog threatens, because one may get lost in it, lose one´s sense of detachment from and control over the surrounding space, and become one with it. In fog the space becomes intimate.
Hovering between magic and manipulation, capture and production of nature, these works by Antas make us question what we see in the green spaces around us. They challenge vision, make it aware of its limits, its own position in the middle of the scene. The fog with all its near-supernatural romantic associations and the near-blank canvas calling for projections while, simultaneously, tempting one closer - both draw attention to what happens between the viewer and the view. It is in this close encounter that the events of the scenes take place.
Taru Elfving (on Axel Antas / Paris photo 06)