Saturday, April 28, 2007

Søren Lose

Berlin-based artist Søren Lose scours antique shops, flea markets and abandoned houses, in search of vintage photographs, negatives, or perhaps, an old camera that may harbour a long-forgotten roll of film.

Søren Lose, The Rhodes Lead (Hippocratus Square), 2001, 26 x 16in/66 x 40cm

The resulting images bridge past and present. Through Lose’s vision, these vintage photographs are presented in new and sometimes, unexpected ways. Offering a window into a personal history, seen through the filter of post-modern abstraction. In the case of The Rhodes Lead series, that abstraction is naturally occurring swirls of colour, the result of damage to the negatives over decades of neglect. Look beyond the surface, and notice series follows a young woman, walking through the streets of Rhodes, an island in the Greek Archipelago.

Søren Lose, The Rhodes Lead (Gate) diptych (part 2), 2001, 26 x 31in/66 x 80cm

She appears in sharp contrast to her ancient surroundings, tall and slender, striding over cobble stone streets in a pale blue pantsuit, her dark curling hair cropped in a bob. These may simply be innocent vacation photos, perhaps a sort of homecoming. But without an image of her face, the whole series is cast in a mysterious, possibly even sinister light. However, the viewer is pulled back from crime-drama inspired questions, but the abstract areas of colour, making the images seem more painterly than documentary.

Søren Lose, The Rhodes Lead (Tourist), 2001, C print, 26 x 16in/66 x 40cm

The source material for the Hotel series is similar to that for Rhodes Lead – anonymous vacation shots from the 1960’s. However, here Lose digitally layers the images, creating a subtle meditation on time and space.

These days, anyone can be an auteur, but in the years after WWII bringing out a camera was a minor event and one can imagine the novelty of taking pictures in an exotic destination to later share with friends and family back home. To ensure he/she had one great image, the photographer bracketed the shot. Taking several photos at different exposures over a few seconds.

With Lose’s deft intervention, we now have a taste of that sliver of time. Los Gigantes stands in crisp vertical letters in the top left corner, while the rest of the image seems to flicker with shadows and ghosted figures.

Søren Lose, Hotel Series (Los Gigantes), 2004, light-jet print on dibond, approx. 4 x 6ft.

Søren Lose is a Danish artist, currently living in Berlin. Later this year, he will show at Houston Fotofest; Sancheng Art Gallery, Shanghai, China and Nordische Botschaften, Berlin.


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