Friday March 31st, Hans Alf Gallery invites everyone to join the opening of two new exhibitions: Henrik Saxgren’s anniversary show “Crack” in the main gallery, and Mie Olise Kjærgaard’s “Blind Spots” in the HAG project room.
Henrik Saxgren is a living legend in Danish photography. Through more than five decades, he has been a key figure in the emergence and consolidation of art photography in a Danish context, and with an unparalleled list of national museum shows to his name, Saxgren has explored every inch of the country – both physically and in terms of scenery and subject matter. The exhibition “Crack”, which opens March 31st, coincides with the prolific photographer’s 70th birthday, but rather than presenting the retrospective selection of highlights from his career that one might expect, Saxgren, who never phones it in or choses the easy solution, has travelled half way around the world in search of few illusive motifs – and of course shooting them on extremely rare, long-expired polaroid films. It has to be difficult and troublesome to photograph, and the journey and the hardship serve their own purpose.
About the show Henrik Saxgren explains:
“Not too long ago, I was struck by a great desire to fundamentally change my photography. It had become too polished and pretty… So when I was offered another solo exhibition with Hans Alf Gallery, I took it as an invitation to do something radical.
For years now, climate change has been an underlying theme in my books and exhibitions. That is something, I wish to maintain. The droughts, floods and storms that ravage the planet at the moment, all point towards an impending collapse. Now and then I get this desperate feeling that the bedrock of our civilization is cracking up. So when I travel to Utah or New Zealand – and before that to a dessert in the Arabian peninsula – it is because I am looking for cracks in the bedrock. That is why the exhibition is called “Crack”.
In order to achieve that fundamental shift in my photography, I committed to a series of dogmas to ensure I wouldn’t succumb to prettines. I only used polaroid films that went out of production many years ago (in 2007 to be precise, so the newest ones are more than 15 years old). These films are extremely difficult to get a hold of, and since I started, I’ve had to toss several hundreds, because the active chemicals had dried out. Even the working sheets turned out flawed. The negatives have cracks.
The radical approach is travelling halfway around the world without enough film, and without knowing if they actually work, when you reach your destination. Or how they work. The artistic idea is to lose all control and replace it with something unmanageable, where chance is a big part of the process. It is a crazy experience to open a sheet after exposure. I have no way of knowing, how the cracks I shot will interact with the cracks in my film. Or – for that matter – how much of the emulsion is even left. Or what parts of the motif have survived the process.”
The exhibition is kindly supported by Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansen Fonden and by Politiken Fonden