I See Through You by Anna Nordquist Andersson
Sweden - Malmo | Aug 14 2012 | (23:13:33 - EDT)
In the series I See Through You from 2008-2012, Swedish photographer Anna Nordquist Andersson directs her attention to the viewer. The series consists of pictures from old issues of Life Magazine reflecting American society in the sixties and seventies. Apart from that, though, they are not connected motivicly. In each picture, however, one or more holes have been made, holes that reveal an underlying layer out of which eyes are starring. They seem to be either looking at the picture from the magazine – which we also see – or reproducing our gaze by looking directly at us.
These starring eyes are spying and confrontational at the same time. They are locked up behind the surface of the magazine issues, from where they keep an eye on us. By making eye holes in the pictures and allowing them to look out instead of cutting them out and pasting them on the surface, Anna Nordquist illustrates the voyeurism that is so prevalent in today’s society. The expansive visual culture of the Western world – in which our gaze is the most important tool, where we keep an eye on each other from a hiding place, and where it is about seeing and being seen – is essential to our way of socializing with one another. But we are seldom confronted so directly with this gaze of ours as in Anna Nordquist’s pictures. The starring eye that flows or floats in the different pictorial spaces, supervises the viewed picture and us simultaneously. The thought of starring eyes looking at us from the back of a picture turns our attention to the power related to our gaze and our faculty of seeing. Big Brother is watching you.
The gaze and its power is an integrated part of the photograph, where we, just like Anne Nordquist’s eyes, look at the world through a hole, catching it in a frozen moment. The pictures from Life Magazine are shot in a period important in the history of photography, and in many ways they mirror American society at that time. The floating eyes look at this period, just as they look at us. The combination of eyes and pictures is manifested physically in the works in terms of more layers, and they contribute to transforming the works into physical objects. The relation between the eyes and the pictures is not unambiguous, but utilizes the integrated ambiguity and possibility of the photo collage to create new surfaces, unexpected compositions and thereby new meanings.
Anna Nordquist Andersson (1976) was born in Malmo, where she still lives and works. She graduated from Malmo Art Academy in 2002 and is represented by Elastic Gallery in Malmo. She works mostly with photography and photo collage, but she has also made installations and large works on commission. In autumn, Norquist Andersson’s series Lost in a Dream is shown in Auckland, New Zealand, curated by Rob Garrett. Also, in October, she has a solo exhibition at Elastic Gallery in Malmo. Parallel with the exhibition in Malmo, a new book titled I See Through You with texts by Sven-Olov Wallenstein and Per Engstrom is published by Forlaget Kalejdoskop.
More at www.annanordquistandersson.se
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