Sverre Strandberg

Sverre Strandberg

Sverre Strandberg (b.1977) is an artist and photographer based in Oslo. His main interests lay in the matrix of the global and the personal. Strandberg graduated from the Art Academy of Bergen (BA) and Oslo (MA) in 2007. Since 2017 he has run the platform and publication Sverres Zine, all issues printed in his studio under the slogan «Handmade! Hand folded! But still generic». The latest issues, «Essence of the Spine» (2020) and «Bildeband» (2021), investigate the representational value of stock photo. Previously he has been running the home gallery Planka (2010) with Anna Daniell and building public sculptures with Arne Vinnem (2012). Among his latest solo exhibitions is Plants & Animals at Tête gallery (Berlin, 2015), which presented semi-abstract photos along with a hardcover book release (Kerber Verlag, 2015).

MELK is proud to present our first solo exhibition by Sverre Strandberg, titled Sightseeing.

Strandberg is showing a body of work consisting of 32 multi-exposure photographs spanning from 2016–2021.

What does it mean to see a site in a world where photography has become the opposite of seeing? For Sverre Strandberg this is not a melancholic question. The exhibition brings together photographs taken over the course of five years, captured in popular tourist destinations like Las Palmas, Porto, Lisbon, Disneyland Paris, Berlin Zoo and Norsk Folkemuseum, or in other populous sites like the Ikea warehouse. Working with spontaneity, chance and banality as tools, Strandberg digs into the optical unconscious to ponder whether the gesture of photography can be both a diagnosis and a cure.

The departure for each image is the sensation that the situation demands to be photographed. Following this impulse, Strandberg wants to draw the attention to the compulsory act of photography in order to investigate it as ritual, as a way of being present in the world. Attracted by bright colours, iconic silhouettes or strong geometrical patterns, his camera seeks out the shapes and places already exhausted by the popular and commercial. Moments overexposed on the minds and phones of flocks of travelers, and still not considered of great value in the cultural hierarchy of images.

Repetition and double vision run as themes throughout the exhibition and underline the interest in notions of familiarity and the generic. Relying heavily on multi-exposure in the camera, the making of the photographs introduces chance elements that contribute to the insistence on photography as gesture. It suggests the oversaturation of images as a form of visual hick-up, and finds in this a source of new patterns, patterns that are perhaps more revealing of the subject at hand and the prosthetics of our bodies that the camera has become. Delirious at times, these abstractions bring joy and enthusiasm to the concept of the generic.

Occasionally bordering on the graphic, the attention to surface is further enhanced by the
mounting of the photographs. Avoiding the traditional glass frame, the distance and screen-like experience of the image is removed, sustaining the value of the materiality of paper as a fundamental part of the experience. The project also encompasses an extensive book that will be published later this summer by Heavy Books.

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