The Return of the Real: Joakim Eskildsen, Olafur Eliasson & Adam Jeppesen

The Return of the Real: Joakim Eskildsen, Olafur Eliasson & Adam Jeppesen

Exhibition: 18th January – 8th March 2014

Gallery Taik Persons and Niels Borch Jensen Gallery & Editions are delighted to announce a collaborative exhibition featuring the works of three Danish artists: Joakim Eskildsen presented by Gallery Taik Persons, and Olafur Eliasson and Adam Jeppesen presented by Niels Borch Jensen.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Hal Foster’s book from 1996, ‘The Return of the Real’, in which Foster discusses the conceptual genealogies of the avant-garde that engage in a historical and social conversation. The notion of environment and our perceptions of it are at the core of this exhibition, explored through the sensibilities of three Nordic artists.

Eskildsen, Eliasson and Jeppesen each present photographic perspectives of expansive nature, which, when viewed in dialogue with one-another, reveal the malleability of our perceptions. While their techniques, visual foci and final structures differ; the artists’ works collectively capture the dynamism of the nature to which they pay tribute.

Olafur Eliasson’s Cartographic Series IV (2007) is a group of 25 birds-eye view landscape photogravures that explore our deeply personal perceptions of scale and time. Eliasson omits people completely from works in an attempt to shift the focus of the viewer from representation and observation to the experiential phenomena of light, space, weather, and the effects of nature on the senses. He considers the shift from nature to landscape as the point at which we form a relationship with it, and by leaving humans out of his photographs; we are obliged to form this relationship independently, instantly. Eliasson systemizes and frames our way of looking at the disorienting aerial views by presenting the images in tidy grid.

Joakim Eskildsen’s Nordic Signs series (1989-1994) introduces the viewers to the beginning of his career, exposing his deeply rooted curiosity for the power of nature and man’s relationship to it. ‘Nordic Signs’ is a poetic reflection on the intrinsic qualities of a rough, and sometimes harsh, terrain, filled with the sensations that these environments contain. The close relationship forged between people and the nature that surrounds them is intimately documented through Eskildsen’s insightful sense of the vitality of the North.

Adam Jeppesen has been greatly inspired by the works of Eliasson and Eskildsen. His photogravure ghost prints nod to Eliasson’s systemized landscapes, and yet by presenting only one landscape in each series, re-printed repeatedly without new ink until the image fades to nothing, Jeppesen relinquishes control of our interpretations and allows the process of photogravure to be as documented as the landscapes themselves. His works, as do Eskildsen’s, emerge from long journeys spent exploring life away from the urban.

The varying artistic executions and presentations of the landscapes in the exhibition create an awareness of how deeply personal, and variable, our modes of seeing are. The artists photograph the realities they encounter without staging or manipulating, and yet the outcome is nevertheless an interpretation, an insight into their sensibilities.

– Shao-lan Hertel

Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark, of Icelandic parentage. He attended the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1989 to 1995. Eliasson has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide and his work is represented in public and private collections, including the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Deste Foundation, Athens and the Tate. Recently, he has had major solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and ZKM (Center for Art and Media), Karlsruhe. In addition, he also represented Denmark in the 2003 Venice Biennale. He has been working with Niels Borch Jensen since their first print project collaboration in 1996. He currently lives and works in Berlin.

Joakim Eskildsen was born in 1971 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He trained with Royal Court photographer Mrs. Rigmor Mydtskov and gained his MA from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University – School of Arts, Design and Architecture). He is represented in public and private collections including The National Museum of Photography (Denmark), The Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA (Finland), Fotomuseum Wintherthur (Switzerland) and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (USA). Eskildsen has published several monographs including Nordic Signs (1995), Bluetide (1997), iChickenMoon (1999), and The Roma Journeys (2007, Steidl, with an introduction by Günter Grass). Steidl will also publish American Realities and Home Works in the near future. The Danish National Museum of Photography will present a retrospective of Eskildsen‘s works in 2015. Eskildsen lives and works in Berlin.

Adam Jeppesen was born in 1978 in Kalundborg, Denmark. He studied photography at Fatamorgana in Copenhagen, and has subsequently had several exhibitions internationally, distinguishing himself with the Wake series, which was published as a book by Steidl in 2008. Jeppesen has been nominated for Börse Photography Prize, 2009 and KLM Paul Huf Award 2009. He is represented at The Denver Art Museum (US), The Danish Arts Foundation, The National Public Art Council, Sweden, The National Museum of Photography, Denmark, Huis Marseille, The Netherlands, CO Berlin, and in several private collections. Jeppesen featured for the first time at Art Basel in 2013 with a work from this project, which is his first collaboration with Niels Borch Jensen. Jeppesen lives and works between Copenhagen and Buenos Aires.