Nils Stærk is pleased to announce the exhibition American Photography with ten new works by Los Angeles based artist Torbjørn Rødland. This is Rødland’s fourth solo-presentation at the gallery.
In making and combining photographs, Rødland’s practice is a subversive one. Familiar images and motifs are tapped for intuitive internal connections and mythological connotations – this often leads to hybrid genres.
With its willfully generic title, this new collection of photographs builds a loose but symbolically saturated weave of culturally recognizable and sometimes stolen visuals from American politics, nature and religion.
Most of the photographed surfaces are flat, hard and pale: an Arizona canyon, a gravestone, marble chips in stucco, a foam roller, ceramic tiles, asphalt and concrete.
The Great Seal of the United States at the facade of Beijing’s U.S. embassy is photographed head on and in colour while three smaller silver gelatine prints focus on key scenes relating to the murder of John F. Kennedy.
Six crumpled white napkins photographed on messy terrace tiles reveal, on closer inspection, the Reagan Coat of Arms appropriated as a green pub logo.
Propaganda posters from the 1980 U.S. presidential election, one from each of the two main political parties, are physically interrupted and re-photographed.
A photograph of a Joshua tree, so named by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Californian desert in the mid-19th century, is juxtaposed with a picture of the majestic twin towers of the San Diego Mormon Temple.
Rødland’s practice interrogates commercial photography and its longing for and representation of authenticity alongside certain overfamiliar tropes bound to contemporary visual culture. While mainly concerned with the visualization and ambiguity of moral conflicts and issues both personal and collective, Torbjørn Rødland isolates and revisits these persistent American tropes.
Torbjørn Rødland was born in Stavanger, Norway in 1970. He studied at the National College of Art and Design, Bergen and Rogaland University Centre, Stavanger. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and the US at venues such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the 48th Venice Biennale, Venice; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Reina Sofa Museum, Madrid, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Vanilla Partner recently published by MACK (London), has been selected for TIME Magazine’s Best of 2012 and New York Times’ top-10 photo books of the year.
Torbjørn Rødland lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.