Becoming Wilderness is Inka Lindergård (b.1985, Finland) and Niclas Holmström’s (b.1984, Sweden) second solo show at the gallery Swedish Photography in Berlin, Germany. The artists live and work in Stockholm but together they travel, seeking places to continue their practice of creating a different representation of nature, using the photographic image to capture their landscapes.
Integral to their practice is the wish to consider what it is in a sunset over an ocean or the view of a mountain range that is so emotionally spellbinding and continues to fill us with awe? What is it that drives us to go out there and collect these images over and over again? And what mystical aura’s create the sense of awe and wonder that colours our un-derstanding of nature?
These are some of the defining questions behind Becoming Wilderness. Inka and Niclas’ practice evolves around an exploration of the different components that constitutes the powerful psychological effects of diffe-rent natural phenomena and landscapes. In their previous project Saga, which was presented in the book Watching Humans Watching, Inka and Niclas started to deconstruct the attractiveness of a sunset. They expe-rimented by extracting its different colours and applying them to new ob-jects and scenes, they explore the possibility of transferring the magical qualities of a sunset to a lesser, more mundane image. This is further developed in the series The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the earth presented in the exhibition. The series consists of nine images of rocks in the shoreline dripping with lush colours and with the open horizon as their backdrop. For a moment the sunset left the sky and moved into these rocks. It is not an experience recorded with the eye but the migra-tion of the colors has, through the testimony of the camera, been regis-tered into a new corner of our reality.
Every different rock is photographed in a new sunset. Obviously, the en-deavor is not to recreate an actual sunset, instead the work lies in the time consuming and persistent process of repeatedly approaching and deconstructing its magical effects.
Colour, flash and nature seem to have travelled through Inka and Nic-las’s shutter and in the process a juxtaposition appears as the wild be-comes wilder and the unnatural becomes natural. We see a glowing red penguin preparing to conquer the world and a tree stump naturally wal-king out of the water.
Whether living in a small house on Mt Kilimanjaro for three months, or chasing the midnight sun in Norway, Inka and Niclas use their varying surroundings to illustrate the natural world as a capricious and mythical place of observation.
Becoming Wilderness is a body of work that also includes more formal and systematic characters and sees carefully elaborated mark making that almost introduces us to the remains of some secret ritual. It is not only a positive exploration of the human perception but also a homage to the photographic medium. With this in mind Inka and Niclas introduce a spiritual element to their photography, using intuition, chance and an in-sistently repetitive work process in which they saturate the unexpected and the irrational. Their visual structures and collections of objects high-light a creative responsiveness and attentiveness to their environment.
Text by Therese Kellner, Denmark