FENCE STUDIES / WORDLESS
The exhibition comprises two distinct series. Fence Studies is a series of six small works, while Wordless consists of five larger photographs, each showing a human head held by a pair of older hands. The relationships between the persons touching and the persons touched are unclear.
The people in Wordless are backlit, creating glowing silhouettes, separating the subject from the background and inducing a sense of impending transformation. Equally characteristic of Rødland's photography as the lighting is the tactile combination of surfaces. Viewed against younger faces, the hands become landscapes of skin, sinews, liver spots and wrinkles.
In Fence Studies, different materials are likewise experienced through their combination. A section of fence connects with a striped canvas bag and flowers; a thicket and a pile of blocks and bricks.
The internal tensions of the works are heightened by the relationships between individual photographs. Plasticity and unity are recurrent themes in Rødland's work. The bizarre pliability of the world and of the medium of photography can also be said to be at the heart of this exhibition.
In recent years, Rødland's work has notably been shown at the Henie-Onstad Art Center in Oslo, Manifesta 11 in Zurich and the 9th Berlin Biennale. He was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art's series of public installations in New York, and his photograph Baby was on the cover of the September 2015 issue of Artforum. This fall, Rødland will have solo shows at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (29 Sept.) and at C/O Berlin (9 Dec.).
Torbjørn Rødland (b. 1970, Norway) lives and works in Los Angeles.