“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Denmark based duo of Nicolai Howalt and Trine Søndergaard presented their recent and early works last February 21st at Bruce Silverstein. It was a very down to earth but lofty selection of photographs from their collaborative and individual projects. There is a stark honesty in the human subjects and an intimate facet of cinema verité threading on their entire body of work that owes its base from their early careers in photography by doing documentary approaches. The long held tenet that pictures should only reveal what the photographer chooses to focus within the quadrant takes on a more nuanced and unexpected turn when you observe their work up close.
From their recent collaborative How to Hunt series, Lille Sommerlyst (2010) featured a Danish hunting ground set in the graphic bare limbed trees during winter as hunters with their dogs populate the otherwise austere scene. The layered and time lapsed photographs give an almost mythical feel to the landscape, Certain parts are stark razor sharp while others are blurred in a mist that it created a magical place for your eyes to feast on the minute morsels you can behold. Søndergaard’s Guldnakke #1 (2012)straddled skillfully the past and the contemporary with a girl’s back view in a glimmering cap that is reminiscent of a Vermeer. The leaden gray gets warmth from the exposed back of her neck and the textures from her clothing. The reference may bow to the old masters but Søndergaard executed with a fresh eye perspective. Howalt’sCar Crash Study #5 (2009) is a close up detail of a smashes surface that evoked the amorphous blooms of Georgia O’Keeffe. Primarily one would view a crumpled surface as destruction but instead Howalt crafted a fragile statement about life.
Both exemplified a sensibility that is charming and also intriguing as a whole. This mini-retrospective and testament of their body of photographic work hearkens to the Goethe quote at the top which is – see one exquisite picture – but in this show, it is a bevy of exquisite images. What a delightful smorgasbord to feed your senses!
Nicolai Howalt & Trine Søndergaard / On View: February 21 – April 13, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)
Bruce Silverstein. 535 West 24th Street. NYC, NY 10011
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
images provided by Bruce Silverstein courtesy of the artists
event photography: Max Noy