„Every Distance“ 2022
ongoing photoseries; prints in color and monochrome in 40x50 cm black aluminium frames
We started out with a particular image of a tree that we wanted to see. We didn’t know where to find this tree or how to capture it. But this desire became a beacon and we let it guide us, using intuition and craft. Although we are not photographers as such, we are very concerned, as artists, with the concepts of objectivity and the gaze. This means, of course, that we often employ photography and the idea of “the portrait” as means in our projects. Recently, we have worked to close the gap between idea and output, trying to avoid over-designing a piece and instead letting it out as quickly as possible and seeing what consequences the new work brings. For this series, closing this gap meant getting into the field, literally, as quickly as possible, experimenting with angles and lenses and light to see if we could capture this phantom desire.
Why do we want to look at a tree right now? Why are we standing in a field with muddy shoes and cold fingers? Why are some of the pictures wrong while other ones feel more correct? And why have we not yet arrived at this mental image that we began with? Most importantly, why does this fantasy feel so urgent?
Our work is experimental, which means, in the classical sense, we decide on the inputs and we wait and see about the outputs. The work is always a system that we create to feed us information. We decide what to do with that information, and which bits are for public consumption. To the degree that the work could be said to have any meaning, we try to keep as light a touch as possible while still asserting our absolute autonomy and authority.
Can we say: these are pictures of nature? We also do not believe that nature exists? These are pictures about looking? These are pictures of desire? These are Covid-era pictures?
We can say: these are pictures of trees, of fields, in short, of landscapes. These landscapes would be perfectly at home, perhaps, on the walls of a dentist’s office. Although that might be an adequate endpoint for us, we are not satisfied stopping at the capture of a landscape. The story is complicated by other elements that serve to displace that narrative: the man in the field standing behind a tripod, the woman in the distance gazing passively, the building(s), the power lines, the jumps between color and monochrome. These displacements bring us assuredly away from the timeless landscape to a portrait of a fixed moment.
Those of us who have not lost their lives are beginning to lose their minds. Slippages are being felt around the world as any sense of a shared narrative is ruptured. Contrary to what is being portrayed in popular media channels, this is not a time for soap-box shouting. This is a time for humility and modest gestures of human warmth. The social distance that is felt in this suite of images is nothing less than our attempt to make sense. We are using artistic form – steeped in layers of aesthetic contemplation, irony, humor, and warmth – to translate what might qualify as a moment right now.