London art. Neighbours by Martina Lindqvist at The Photographers’ Gallery. From 31 October 2014 to 4 January 2015.
Print Sales’ Gallery presents Neighbours, the first UK solo exhibition by award-winning young Finnish artist Martina Lindqvist. The exhibition will feature two bodies of work Neighbours (2013 – 2014) and a new series Murmurs (2014) as well as a commissioned piece titled The Absurdity of Greener Grass (2013).
Neighbours is inspired by the remote place in Finland from which Lindqvist traces her family roots. This rural area has seen many of its inhabitants move away to settle in larger cities and towns, leaving their old family homes to stand empty. Lindqvist’s images look at these failed attempts to settle, exploring the tension between nature and inhabitation. The photographs feature austere houses which sit at the centre of a desolate snowy landscape set against a grey background. Using digital manipulation Lindqvist extends the space around the homes, emphasising their perceived isolation by erasing any indication of surrounding life or proximity. This new perspective captures the particular mood and character of these remote areas while also symbolising the artist’s relationship to her Finnish roots.
Murmurs is a series of vanitas photographed against Lindqvist’s ailing grandmother’s bedroom wallpaper. Throughout her adult life Lindqvist’s grandmother was always concerned with presenting herself in what she considered to be the correct fashion. Keeping up appearances to neighbours and friends was of the utmost importance to her. Now suffering from Alzheimer’s, she can no longer remember her family or her old home, let alone past acquaintances. The images in this series depict cut flowers placed in cardboard vases, photographed as they prematurely wilt from lack of water and sustenance. They are a reflection upon the futility, and ultimately failure, of maintaining one’s image in the face of death.
The Absurdity of Greener Grass, first commissioned in 2013 for The Crown Estate and Exemplar, depicts a lone female figure standing atop a rock overlooking a sprawling field of grass. Using a similar technique to the one applied in Neighbours, Lindqvist digitally constructs the landscape which stands as a metaphor to the psychological term ‘phenomenal field’ – referring to the individual’s subjective reality. In this image the flat surface of the seemingly never-ending field of grass offers little excitement and inspiration to the figure in the centre. Her inability to see beyond it adds to her feelings of frustration with only the horizon offering a potential for release.
Martina Lindqvist said: The discrepancy between ‘objective reality’ and subjective experience has always been at the forefront of my practice. It is in this gap, between the two perspectives, that I find the inspiration for my work. I attempt to take on the rather paradoxical task of photographing something through an individual — and therefore idiosyncratic — perception. Whilst a viewer of a painting always knows that they are sharing the painter’s way of looking at the world, that is not the case with a photograph. It is in this vein, of attempting to make visible that which is not really there, that I approach my photography.
The exhibition features twelve works in total: The Absurdity of Greener Grass, four pieces from Murmurs and six from Neighbours which also includes four new photographs specially released for this presentation. Prices range from £700 to £2500 + VAT with prints produced in varying dimensions. Additional works from these series are available on request.