Transformer: Peter Lav Gallery

Photographic sculptures. At Peter Lav Gallery, three different generations play with photo and video art under the exhibition title Transformer. All five artists interpret time and the sensual space around the body in order to challenge and push boundaries of the art practices

Emil Salto: Untitled (courtesy Peter Lav Gallery)

Close-ups of different kinds of paper, newspaper with print, paper from colored magazines and from various kinds of cardboard, folded and shaped leaving traces of the famous Danish photographer Keld Helmer Petersen (1920). But why close-ups of paper and cardboard? Because we immediately sense it, their shapes and their sensual folding, their colors and shadows seem close to our bodies and our daily lives.

But the surface of the photographs simply called Papirbillede 1-4 (Paperpicture 1-4) also forms their own aesthetic. The subtle play with the material and the palette create graphic patterns of it’s own. In this way the photographer marks the space by transforming the material into something completely different and gives viewers the possibility of a new poetic photographic interpretation of something very common.

The exhibition Transformer at Peter Lav Gallery shows five very different artists in connection with the successfully ended Copenhagen Photo Festival. They all try to transform spaces in relation to the modern medias and challenge the boundaries of the art practices.

The process as subject

Emil Salto (1968) is just as interested in abstractions as Keld Helmer Petersen. Four wonderful photographs showing different shades of greys-scaled darker and darker onto squared boxes forming a space, tunnel or an abyss, into a black nothing, are definitely the best pieces on the exhibition. The untitled pieces do not represent anything from our real world. They are all created in the dark room, and thereby are not “real” camera work picturing our outside world, they are merely abstractions representing the process, discussing the representation of photography.

But none-the-less, we really feel and sense the various spaces by looking at the photographs, the movement, and the falling into an abyss, and perhaps the falling into time, that we as humans are succombed. And Salto’s work, in this strange way, at the same time, very abstract and formal referring to it self, the making of the photography, the process being its subject, also becomes very interesting and existential.

Michael Mørk: Untitled (courtesy Peter Lav Gallery)

Confusing architectural space

Michael Mørk’s (1959) Untitled photographs work in a familiar way by making spaces, but he also confuses. As a spectator you get the impression of a door, or door-way, but also somehow of disturbing mirrors, and the photographs thereby smoothly disrupt, what is in the front or the back ground of the picture. The sense of space in general is disturbed. But the sensuality, and the non-figurativeness of the photographs also makes them seem concrete like sculptures, you want to walk around. Unfortunately, the blank surface of the pictures strongly and ambivalently indicates you are standing in front of a one-dimensional media.

Michael Mørk works on breaking down the boundaries of photography, just as Tumi Magnússon, the fourth of the five artists at the exhibition, and discussing it as a media, and thus classically splinters the references to the real world. The work’s hyper-real and thereby unreal quality sophistically relates to the photograph and imagery as such.

The last of the five exhibitors, Danish artist Pernille With Madsen’s (1972) video works Scene for Securitas and Scene for fredag (Scene for Friday) are disorienting the space and time in a similar way. Her pieces work within the field of photograph, installation and video art. The fascinating video sequences of different modern, glass and steel buildings are split into several layers, so they appear as surfaces or just patterns, and are stretched in time as well, and in this way confuses the impression of time and space, and furthermore, maybe too ambitiously tries to change the ideas about architecture as able to incarnate.

The exhibition Transformer has been really successfully curated. The pieces delicately play and suggests the photographic media in various ways, while focusing on the everlasting and classical subjects of space and time, but also experiments by pushing the boundaries of the different art forms, e.g. photography, painting, sculpture, installation and concept art, that also makes it a quite demanding exhibition, an exhibition for the art crowd.