In The Gallery is pleased to present Movement. The Extended Moment a solo exhibition with Danish artist Jacob Gils.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of the artist’s new book Movement, which presents his ongoing work with the movement series.
Movement is a photographic series, which combines a strong aesthetical point of view with meticulous attention to technical detail. As the title indicates, the series is concerned with giving shape to the temporal and spatial aspects inherent in all visual experience.
In the early days of photography, what fascinated people the most, was its ability to capture likeness and freeze time. However, paradoxically, the new medium’s ability to fix moments in time, tied it irrevocably to the past. Rather than stop time, traditional photography makes the viewer acutely aware of its passing. The advent of photography is closely linked to the modern movements in Western painting, which began with the French Realists in the mid nineteenth century and flourished with impressionism a few decades later. The impressionists abandoned the static and staged imagery of previous eras in favour of a vibrant new style, which emphasized momentous impressions over exact likeness.
A similar exploration of the material qualities of colour and surface and the same feeling of experiencing the world in fleeting moments is at play in Movement. Like the impressionists who would often return to the same motifs time after time, Gils is also drawn to sites, which convey a certain atmosphere and continuously explores these from different angles and at various times of year.
There are differences too, however. While the motif in paintings by impressionist frontrunners such as Monet and Morisot dissolves when one zooms in upon it, the distortions of the images in Movement are revealed upon closer scrutiny to be new details and clear shapes, adding an extra dimension to the images.
As such, the series explores a fluctuation between figuration and abstraction, thus unsettling the unique relationship between the photograph and its real life referent, which long distinguished it from other modes of representation. While some of the images clearly portray a likeness, others render the original subject almost unrecognizable. In these works, Gils explores what happens to the image when the original referent can no longer be discerned. When the signifier no longer is attached to the signified.
The Movement series also represents a breach with the dominant Nordic landscape tradition, which has tended to favour quietude, subdued colour and a certain melancholic mood. Contrary to this, Jacob Gils’ works are vibrant and dynamic, emphasizing the ongoing exchange between image and beholder.