AXEL ANTASDrawings, photographs, videos

White portrait, 2002
C-print
100 x 100 cm
edition 5

Axel Antas (b.1976) was born and raised in Finland but has resided in London since 1997. After studies at the Nordic School of Art in Finland he enrolled in the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London, from which he graduated in 2000. His previous solo exhibition in Finland was held in 2001.

In his art, Axel Antas employs his tools - drawing, photography and video - in an uncomplicated manner. Man and nature in harmony are recurring motifs in his grey-toned pencil drawings whilst people are portrayed with their faces hidden, solitary amidst an empty white space. Minimalism is a trait characteristic of AntasĀ“ work - he reduces in order to augment. He crystallises his images into a specific given situation and the concept arising from it - existential reflection on the mysteries of being. He has the gift of seeing great import in the smallest gesture.

In his portrait-like photographs tinted with surrealism and humour, Axel Antas depicts not the face but the persona behind the face, being and the transience of all that is, the presence and absence of man. Antas utilises the most traditional of animation techniques in his videos, scanning into a computer images drawn on paper or drawing directly onscreen images comprising only outlines in black and white with shades of light and dark. When set in motion, the chain of images blurs into a moving picture of dusk falling in a forest, a nomad wandering down his endless trail and man standing in a landscape, turning around and perceiving all that surrounds him.

However far-fetched the idea may sound, AntasĀ“ art in all its forms - its content as well as its external appearance - inevitably reminds me of Japanese haiku poetry and Chinese landscape painting. Both art forms evoke a sense of fragility, sensitivity and simplicity - and above all, the heightened role of harmony between man and nature - and, like the work of Axel Antas, often convey an ambience of melancholy, stillness and expectation.

Rauli Heino

 
  • antas/2004/watching

    Watching air from series Absentees, 2004 (detail)
    pencil on paper
    300 x 240 cm

  • antas/2004/untitled

    Untitled from series Absentees, 2004 (detail)
    pencil on paper
    270 x 240 cm

  • antas/2004/breathing

    Breathing himself invisible, 2001
    C-print
    100 x 100 cm
    edition 5

  • antas/2004/white

    White portrait, 2002
    C-print
    100 x 100 cm
    edition 5

  • antas/2004/forest

    Forest, 2003
    DVD
    edition 5

  • antas/2004/landmarks

    Landmarks, 2003
    DVD
    edition 5

 
 
 
 
 
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