Hamiltons is proud to present ‘Pentimento’ the inaugural London based exhibition of exclusive works by Swedish photographer, Jacob Felländer. The exhibition includes sixteen large format images, 110cm x 110cm, from Felländer’s latest project, marking a significant and exciting shift in his work with the introduction of drawing and painting - challenging their relationship with photography. Pentimento is defined as an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work: an original draft or under-painting that shows through with the use of infrared X-rays or when the top layer of paint has become transparent with age. “When is an image more a film than a photograph? When is a photograph more a painting than a photograph? The border territory fascinates me.”
Felländer uses ancient, rebuilt analogue cameras to multiexpose his negatives whilst simultaneously winding the film forward throughout the frame; allowing for time, space and perspective to drift. Paint and charcoal is applied for the first time in this body of work, highlighting the shapes and forms Felländer sees in the underlying exposures and bringing them to the surface; thus pentimento. He cites Turner, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Anselm Kiefer and Robert Frank as influences.
Recognised, to date, for his large kaleidoscopic photographs of landscapes and urban environments; Felländer has travelled the world with old, manipulated cameras taking hundreds of multiply exposed photos on the same role of film. In contrast to his previous work, however, the photographs in this exhibition were taken from the same hotel window in New York City. A recurring theme throughout Felländer’s photography is the notion of community and the human desire to live close, above/below/next door, to one another. In a world where more people choose to live in cities than countryside, Felländer refers to urban landscapes and their infrastructure as a source of influence and beauty. Not only, therefore, does this work challenge the boundaries between photography and painting/drawing, but the literal, physical boundaries of space. And time. A traditional photograph is a frozen moment in time captured in one place; by using multiexposed images Felländer captures several moments over a span of time in the same, or differing, locations. He cites Alfred Wegener’s theory of Continental Drift (1912) – the Earth’s continents were once joined and have, over time, drifted across the globe - as the prompt for his moment of artistic discovery: “I wondered, if space drifts over time, perhaps time can drift over space… In memories, we experience time drifting from a linear path and skipping moments. What moments do we actually remember and what would it look like in a photo?”
Creativity, to Felländer, is a way to explore what he can be a part of if he sets his intellect aside, explaining that his work has evolved through making art rather than a development of conceived and processed ideas. “Where I want to go” he explains “my intellect cannot help me; only keep me in the world I already know.” One work of art opens doors to the next, and the only way Felländer sees he is able to reach his artistic pinnacle is to put layer upon layer, bypassing intellect which only serves to create anxious guidelines.
When asked whether he sees himself more as an artist or photographer, Felländer’s answer is simple; that photography is art. “A photograph is a medium for art, like paint and marble… art is a verb, not a title.” Felländer is clear in explaining that he has chosen not to analyse or intellectualise his work any longer. “I’ve closed the door on all that. I have to be brave enough to let it be what it is, without explanation or justification; art can communicate what we don’t have words for.”
Born in 1974, Felländer studied fine art photography and graphic design at Flagler College, St Augustine, Florida and San Diego State University. He began experimenting with landscape photography in the late 1990s. Felländer has exhibited globally in both group and solo exhibitions, including Fotografiska Galleriet, Stockholm; The Maidstone Garden, NYC and Galerie Aronowitsch, Stockholm, amongst others. His work is held in a number of private collections, including that of Bill Clinton. For many years Felländer has donated works to UNICEF who sell them at auction for the benefit of children worldwide.