Annika Von Hausswolff's "Grand Theory Hotel"
- Written by Bob Bishop
Swedish artist-photographer Annika Von Hausswolff is exhibiting work she has produced over the last ten years at Paris' Insititut Suedois (until March 19, 2017). Her themes include patriarchal structures, criminology, global capitalism and the subconscious. Some of the artist's recent work incorporates traditional photo tools such as enlarging easels and color filters that invite contemplation of the analogue photography apocalypse.
Von Hausswolf's images are full of references and her staged scenes disrupt the boundary between fact and fiction. "My most recent works are appropriated images" says the artist. "that I've found in different archives and image collections. I've processed these images and then had them made into enamels... I somehow regard them as the subconscious of my work... And why I've made them in enamel is about making them immortal..."
Her black and white "For Sale By Owner" photographs of abandoned houses are the most "classically photographic" in the exhibition. "Here I've documented houses that I feel tell a lot about an economic change and an economic breakdown with huge consequences for the individual human being."
Talking about her photography going from analogue to digital Von Hausswolff —who taught photography at the University of Gothenburg— said "For several years now I've been quite confused, due to the technical development—how am I to deal with my incentive to work with photography? Because a lot of it has concerned the darkroom as a place of an almost alchemical process, both technically and conceptually. I've loved to handle the film as material, and I've loved the slowness in the developing process, and so on. The digital technique is really radically different, in the sense that everything happens instantaneously. It happens in the daylight, you don't need a dark room to create your images. You may think that all of this is irrelevant, and perhaps an advertising photographer finds it irrelevant, but as an artist you build your own symbolic world in which you work... The latest work I've made is simply about scanning photographs —the photographs I've found in different archives. So, yes, I don''t know where this will take me, but I feel that as an artist you also have to relate to reality... In one sense it may be an advantage that someone pulls the rug from under your feet— you have to think again in new ways, in another way. So it's not all bad, the digital technique."
Grand Theory Hotel, Annika von Hausswolf, to March 19, 2017, at the Institut Suedois, 11, rue Payenne, 75003 Paris.
Photo caption: Cover of book accompanying exhibition produced in conjunction with the Hasselblad Foundation.