AXEL ANTASStories make worlds / Worlds make stories

Lost to sight (Pohnpei Starling), 2019
C-print
98 x 74 cm
edition 5 + 2AP

The installation and the photographs in Axel Antas’ exhibition are works with layers of signification and time. Antas has a conceptual and philosophical approach to nature, and in the exhibition he explores how working through strata of materials, artistic techniques, forms, and combinations can be a way to relate to nature and the larger world around us.

Lost to sight (2019) is a series of photographs showing small, white sculptures of birds sitting on hands. Some of which are closed like a fist, while others are open. The birds are examples of extinct species, and we see among others the Black-faced honeycreeper and the Least Vermilion flycatcher. Even though the photographs are all monochromatic and minimalistic, and the shadows from the sculptures are the main sign of space in the photographs, the picture space is compound. In this space numerous versions of materiality, technology, stories, and sculptural processes are present at the same time: The materiality of the picture space is highlighted by the visible processes of the traditional plaster casting of the hands, the digital 3D printing of the birds based on sketches and images, and the sculptural arrangement of hand and bird.

With this artistic method Antas is translating materials, forms, stories and analogue as well as digital technologies through each other and thereby pointing to an understanding of art as processual and not hierarchical. Walter Benjamin writes in “The Task of the Translator” (1923), that a translation touches the original only lightly, and that the translator is liberating the original in a new re-creation. In his works Antas doesn’t emphasize a potential original condition, on the contrary he, as Benjamin, overcomes dichotomies between original/copy; autonomy/relativity and truth/false. In the exhibition there are no originals or true versions. Like in the stories about the extinct bird species sitting on human hands: how can we determine the reason of their destiny and what ought to be done? The idea of making versions is the essence of our digital technologies with its never ending circulation and transformation of immaterial information, and Antas is in a subtle way reworking this condition and pointing to the always possible gap that exists between our physical and immaterial world and our empirical experience of it.

Antas’ Study of a tree (2019) is a large installation framed by a 3.6 x 3.6 metres platform we can walk around. This room is darker than the first one with the white photographs from series Lost to sight (2019). The light is set, so the surface of the platform reflects the fragments of a tree standing and lying on it. These trunks are in different sizes, the tallest one standing is 2,4 metres, and all of them are cast in dark grey material. The monochrome colour and the casting technique make the fragments extremely detailed, every little crack and irregularity in the surface is visible. This is also the case in Fragments (2019), which are large black and grey photographs of broken castings appearing like archaeological findings. The installation is only one version of the tree; the creation process traverses through layers of different materials, forms and techniques.

The study of the tree manifests itself over time, and here Antas’ methods of translating is gradual and careful; like if he wants to remind us, that we have to take our time to study and develop new and more careful interactions with nature. Antas emphasizes a meditative process of producing and experiencing art, and in this perspective his real study in the exhibition is the phenomenology of our experience of nature and how we relate to the world around us.

Charlotte Præstegaard Schwartz

PhD, Art historian and researcher, Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark


 


 
  • antas/2019/01Vermillion

    Lost to sight (Least vermilion flycatcher), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/02Sparrow

    Lost to sight (Dusky seaside sparrow), 2019
    C-type
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/03Poouli

    Lost to sight (Black-faced honey creeper), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/04Bishops

    Lost to sight (Bishop's oo), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/06bushwren

    Lost to sight (Bushwren), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/07whitechested

    Lost to sight (White-chested white eye), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/11father-mother

    Untitled (Bloom), 2019
    C-print
    98 x 74 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/10owl-front-small

    Lost to sight (Sceloglaux albifacies - front), 2019
    C-print on metallic photo paper
    39 x 30 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/09owl-back-small

    Lost to sight (Sceloglaux albifacies - back), 2019
    C-print on metallic photo paper
    39 x 30 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/08kaleidoscope-drop

    Kaleidoscope (Drop), 2019
    C-print
    154 x 121 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/12burned-tree-surface

    Burnt tree, 2019
    C-print
    133 x 101 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/13kaleidoscope-forest

    Untitled, 2019
    C-print
    66 x 53 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/14fragment1

    Fragments I, 2019
    giclee print
    154 x 202 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/15fragment2

    Fragments II, 2019
    giclee print
    154 x 202 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/16fragment5

    Fragments III, 2019
    giclee print
    154 x 202 cm
    edition 5 + 2AP

  • antas/2019/IMG_4568

    Study of a tree in grey, 2019
    jesmonite
    360 x 360 cm
    1/1

  • antas/2019/IMG_4566

    Study of a tree in grey, 2019
    jesmonite
    360 x 360 cm
    1/1

  • antas/2019/IMG_4599

    Study of a tree in grey (detail), 2019
    jesmonite
    360 x 360 cm
    1/1

  • antas/2019/IMG_4596

    Study of a tree in grey (detail), 2019
    jesmonite
    360 x 360 cm
    1/1

  • antas/2019/IMG_4651


  • antas/2019/IMG_4656


  • antas/2019/IMG_4647


  • antas/2019/IMG_4659


  • antas/2019/IMG_4664


  • antas/2019/IMG_4614


  • antas/2019/IMG_4616


  • antas/2019/IMG_4662


  • antas/2019/IMG_4556


  • antas/2019/IMG_4604


 
 
 
 
 
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