An exhibition by Asger Carlsen

OPENING: FRIDAY JANUARY 2014. TIME: 17.00 - 22.00


Hester is not easy to explain. It has to be viewed and experienced. Hester is not easily understood. Sculptures of amorphous human figures photographed in non descript spaces. A cross between a David Lynch dream, a Henry Moore sculpture and a Francis Bacon painting, mixed by Dr. Jekyll in Frankenstein’s lab. Surreal cubistic tableaus in black and white.

The process is interesting. Seven years ago Asger Carlsen challenged himself with a new artistic task. A dogma. He had to create his new body of work in the studio. Carlsen had the notion that photography could be something else than an observation done with a camera. He would no longer roam the planet for a motif. Photography would be the material. He started shooting nude models, including himself, in the studio and building objects and merging the two digitally. The result is Hester, named after the street in New York where Carlsen has his studio, sculptures sculpted from photography and presented in the studio setting where they were created. Carlsen plays with photography in creating an open-ended interpretation of figures and shapes in departure from the traditional approach; his works are more materials than photographs, or maybe even photographs of installations.

Taking in the series, 21 works in all, is an uneasy experience. The works highlight and undermine the human figure and beauty. We recognize ourselves in form; a spine, a leg, skin pores, buttocks, but at the same time the sculptures remain eerie alien. The works are filled with juxtapositions and often create a myriad of conflicting emotions in the viewer; beautiful, offensive, humorous, cruel, perverted, sexy, interesting, but never indifferent. It might be that the core of Hester is a discussion of our current ideals and notions of beauty.

Asger Carlsen, born 1973, Denmark, started working with photography when he was 15, lives and works in New York. Carlsen has received critical praise around the world for Hester and the accompanying book published by Morel Books. Recently Asger Carlsen has exhibited in Tokyo, Vienna, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Istanbul. He has recently started a collaborative project with South African artist Roger Ballen which was featured in the Vice Photo Issue 2013. His distinctive style of portraiture has recently been featured in The Journal, Garage Magazine and The New Yorker. He is currently collaborating with fellow countryman Anders Trentemøller for the artworks for Trentemøller’s latest series of records. This is the first time the complete Hester series will be displayed together.