Martina Hoogland Ivanow — Circular Wait + Satellite
Martina Hoogland Ivanow
Circular Wait + Satellite
Past: November 12, 2015 → February 27, 2016
NextLevel presents, for the first time at the gallery, works by Swedish artist Martina Hoogland Ivanow. Exceptionally, two of the artist’s series are presented together: the exclusive launch of her latest series ‘Circular Wait’ is shown alongside her preceding series ‘Satellite’, which has been well-received in Europe and internationally.
Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s work is particularly known for its colour composition structured by dense shadow and muted tones: her photographic subject is typically in the dark, or not facing the camera, time seems suspended. Perhaps the other defining characteristic of Martina’s work is the play between documentary and staged photography whereby intuitive images are interwoven with observation and detail. This approach marked her earlier series ‘Far Too Close’ and ‘Speedway’; it is also a feature of the series ‘Satellite’, which is hung at NextLevel gallery in a strict, dense, linear progression of images.
In contrast, the artist’s latest work ‘Circular Wait’ is more associative and open to different interpretations. She introduces a new element, that of bold pictorial colour whose deep reds, pinks and jade-infused violet permeate the figurative content like a fog. The series is hung at NextLevel Gallery in such a way to allow for a more subjective narrative reading that could be impressionistic, or indeed circular.
The two series presented consider different but complementary subjects: ‘Satellite’ explores notions of isolation and belonging to a group, taking for its subject ‘alternative’ and utopic communities around the world (such as eco-villages and neo-rurals who reject modern society in favour of models built upon solidarity and ecological values). Here, with an almost abstract gaze and her unique somber palette, Martina Hoogland Ivanow delicately reveals details about body language, clothing, objects, interiors and exteriors, that inherently pose questions about that which is ‘seen’ in society and that which is ‘hidden’; that which is ‘in the centre’, and that which is ‘marginal’.
‘Circular Wait’ continues this exploration of mankind’s complex dualism, in particular the tensions between modern mankind and nature. With the same interest in visible/hidden, the artist explores the new subject of ‘surveillance’ and thus brings an extra narrative tension to her work: she reminds us that there is a paradox in this free and abundant nature, whereby alternative communities, seeking to escape modern society and its forms of control, must coexist with armed and equipped birdwatchers and hunters, whose days are spent watching and waiting. This paradox is expressed in the artists’ larger format images whose strange, almost artificial colors are like a warning — this nature is invaded, poisoned, denatured.
When asked about the meaning of the series’ enigmatic title, ‘Circular Wait’, the artist explains, “ ‘Circular’ instills a sense of peace and reflects harmony, just like nature with its cycles, and ‘Wait’ evokes patience, which I associate with something positive. But together the words instead become a claustrophobic state that one is incapable of changing, one cannot get out of. This is what intrigues me — it is a good example of the ambivalent nature of humans: we know what must be done but are incapable of doing it.”
All of the works are darkroom prints, made by the artist.
The exhibition is accompanied by Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s latest publication, “Satellite + Circular Wait + Second Nature“, a box-set containing three books (one of each series Satellite and Circular Wait, and a third publication with an essay, “Second Nature”) published by Livraison Books and Art and Theory (2015). The three -volume bespoke publication has just been shortlisted for the Swedish Photo Book Award 2016.
This exhibition received support from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme (IASPI), Gun Gallery (Stockholm) and from the Institut Suédois (Paris).
English translation: Miranda Salt
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Martina Hoogland Ivanow