The latest show at Bruce Silverstein Gallery showcases both early and recent works by Danish partners Nicolai Howalt and Trine Søndergaard. The photographs, excerpts from various individual series as well as joint ones, were discussions of the space within space and the fluid transformation of influence from one artist to the other. As usual the viewers at the opening highlighted Chelsea with their radiating presence. People come here to be seen.
It is amazing to see the flow of aesthetic influence between artists who work closely together––the interchange of ideas, compositions, subject matters. Overall as one solid whole, the body of works resonates with a dignified mystery and a silent seduction. Søndergaard’s series of prostitutes “Now That You Are Mine” showed the women and spaces as a hushed reality. In one shot the word “Hooker” is spray painted over a wall, just as the said subject matter, we presume, walks directly underneath it. Here the signified and the signifier combine to direct us to a feeling, a thought, a conception of this person whom otherwise we know nothing about.
Busts and Doors
A similar solitary vision is seen with images of girls in traditional Danish and Flemish garb. Her practice and visual taste continues from series to series. The monochromes are dark and eerie, with barely discernible portraits of men and women, none of whom are facing the audience. The women in the traditional garb looks like classical portrait paintings, the pale subjects staring vacantly at the invisible viewer while dressed in intricate and ornate clothing. Consider Søndergaard’s Versus series, where regular women are paired next to classical busts, a discourse immediately formulating between concepts of beauty, femininity, the past and the present and the delicate line between real and conceptualized.
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