Martina Hoogland Ivanow

Circular Wait

September 29 – December 17, 2016

Artist talk in English on October 1, 7.30 pm. Moderator of the talk is Christoph Tannert, Director at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.

During the European Month of Photography Berlin, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery presents works from the series Circular Wait by the Swedish artist Martina Hoogland Ivanow in co-operation with GUN Gallery, Stockholm and Next Level Gallery, Paris. The exhibition is curated by Greger Ulf Nilson.

There is an unmistakable and highly personal inflection in Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s images emanating from their compact atmosphere and her distinctive way of dealing with shadowsand light. The images are characterized by a soft grey scale.These muted tones become a filter between the image and the viewer, a filter that also lends a sense of timelessness to the images.
In Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s most recent work, the series Circular Wait (2010–2014), she has focused on examining our oftentimes artificial and contradictory relationship with nature – a relationship that is largely about control. Like her series Satellite, Circular Wait proceeds from the longing for the authentic and wild that is fundamental to many subcultures that to a greater or lesser degree distance themselves from urban culture. Seeking to live in harmony with nature is often exclusive and only accessible to a select few. Other problematic dimensions include issues of sustainability and gender. The wilderness is not big enough for everyone to live in and warm themselves by an open fire, and, in most cases, a return to a more “original” life involves a return to more rigid gender roles.

In Circular Wait images from places such as eco villages, Rainbow Gatherings, and Teaching Drum – a stone-age survival school – are juxtaposed with different forms of outdoor life and encounters in or about nature, situations of contemplation or surveillance. The images of lone birdwatchers or hunters remind us of our own vulnerability while monitoring another, drawing parallels to the surveillance society of today. Documentary elements alternate with color and light abstractions in artificial colors that infuse the images with a dream-like, painterly dimension, while bringing to mind pollution, poison, and other forms of environmental destruction.
Circular Wait exposes the fragile balance between humankind, culture, sustainability, and nature. The title refers to a state in harmony with the cycles of nature, but by extension also to an inability to break a pattern. The images evoke questions regarding our human shortcomings and capture the anxiety of our times that comes from knowing what we should do from an environmental perspective while at the same time finding it difficult to live up to the expectations of real change. Another element is the exploration of the simultaneously regressive and visionary desire to live closer to nature. An interest in what is complex and contradictory runs like a common thread through Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s work, in which the photographic process becomes an investigation into our dualistic nature and how the self relates to the outside world.

text by Estelle af Malmborg

– Circular Wait: the title instills a sense of peace and reflects harmony, which I associate with something positive. But together the two words instead become a claustrophobic state in which one is incapable of changing one’s situation, one cannot get out of it. This is what intrigued
me – this was a good example of the ambivalent nature of humans: we know what can be done but are incapable of doing it says Martina Hoogland Ivanow.

The series Circular Wait is part of the publication Satellite and Circular Wait, a collaboration between the artist and the Swedish publishers Livraison Books and Art and Theory Publishing, and won the Swedish Photobook Award 2015.

Martina Hoogland Ivanow was born 1973 in Stockholm. She lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.