In the pictures of Henrik Strömberg one encounters the world, remote, removed, almost as if disappeared. Places become difficult to locate, plunged into darkness, dawn, dusk; wastelands, half empty rooms; left-overs, left-behinds. Slight traces of what one knows, emmerge from a tissue of light, colour, plane and space; deserted: the individual does not occur. The indiviual is the spectator.
Decoding these pictures is not simple. Although they are resonating with suggestion and anticipation, the enigmatic moment always remains, disallowing you to disengage. Once you begin to immerse yourself, you become pulled over to the other, the inner side, beyond the effigy. One is on one’s own. The world stands still. Time stands still.
The quality of Henrik Strömberg’s work constitutes itself in the austere composition, from which results this certain inward-looking nature, a deep and universal self-reflection. His view penetrates the invisible, seizes it and gives it a shape. A connection is created between the inside and the outside, the true essence of things and the mere sense of things. This becomes obvious in the Forest Series in particular.
Single trees or groups of trees emmerge from the one and the same of the forest, from the darkness, plunged into wisps of light. The decided and linger- ing gaze of the photographer reveals the singularity of the tree, makes it an individual, and therefore all trees. This gaze into the forest reveals its soul, and ultimately the soul of every thing, every place.
In Henrik Strömberg’s world such places can appear anywhere, anytime. There is no map for them. Only the willingness, the translucence of the momentum in which a window, a door opens to the other side. Once having arrived there, it is not the time of directly assessing, of merely depicting the things, it is a time of unprejudiced observation, of marvelling, ultimately of recognizing oneself within the things, recognizing oneself being part of everything.
Henrik Strömberg is a photographer, who does not mystify. No bluffs, no sensations. He neither paints us a picture of the romantic, picturesque idea of nature or civilisation, but a picture of the sublime, the unique, which can be found within things. He is a photographer, who photographs the nothing, and the everything.
Text by Fjodor Donderer
The series Parts from places, 2011, were made from found fragmented topographic maps and photographic negatives.
By piecing together the different parts of the maps approximate locations were unveiled and possible to locate. Henrik Strömberg went on several walks to these locations making photographic record of the journeys in and around the specific places. Rather than presenting a photographic documentation of the journeys and places, the resulting large format negatives were cut up and collaged together with the different fragments of the maps to again obscure their origin and function. The idea of the map and the photograph, as exact mediums to describe the outside world, transforms into camouflage of their own form.
Henrik Strömberg was born 1970 in Sweden, he lives and works in Berlin, Germany.