Beyond Photography

SixtyEight is proud to present an exhibition featuring three Copenhagen-based artists, Gisa Pantel, Esme Chapman Jones, and Elisabeth Molin.

The exhibition is part of Copenhagen Photo Festival. See the full program at Copenhagen Photo Festival

The philosopher Vilém Flusser has described how taking photographs can be seen as form of ‘phenomenological doubt’, a ‘doubt’ which in the works of the exhibited artists becomes an artistic investigation of the tension between representative systems, technologies, and physical reality. Through their works Gisa Pantel, Esme Chapman Jones, and Elisabeth Molin investigate how photography can function as a catalyst in the artistic process, rather than being the end result. Pantel and Chapman Jones test the limits of photography in practical ways by using software technologies such as screen shots and image morph, whereas Molin uses performative methods to investigate phenomena that balance on the boundary between the actual and the fictive.

Esme Chapman Jones has created an impressive archive of the sorrowful facial expressions of iconic actresses throughout the history of cinema. The work Eighty Sad Women shows a collection of moments which range widely in time as well as in image quality and expression. Chapman Jones’ work seems to expand both the definition of the medium and our preconceived ideas about women in cinema.

Gisa Pantel has also found inspiration in popular culture, working with the ambiguity which can arise between the image itself and the typical, caricatured cultivation of celebrity culture in the press. Pantel uses image morph technology and fragments of a fictional manuscript to weave together the identities and fates of Amanda Knox and Natascha Kampusch. She shows us how reality, fiction, and images are constantly being mixed together in a wealth of different contexts, and how we as viewers aren’t always able to disentangle the various elements.

Elisabeth Molin’s works likewise destabilise the border between reality and representation by leading the viewer into the dubious field between illusion and our optical registration. We have to decide where the border lies - reality and illusion are constantly mixed. Molin works in the space between performance and photography as a way to accentuate an ambiguity between illusion and reality that photographs often conditions. Images today are continuously distorted and redefined by new technological possibilities, in which illusion and reality often blend together in the many layers of the image.

The works in the exhibition Beyond Photography are concerned with the way we understand representation today, in a time when images circulate in a multiplicity of contexts and situations, with numerous references and manipulations. The three artists all use photography in their practice to investigate the element of doubt present in images, representation, and technology itself.

The exhibition has been curated by SixtyEight in collaboration with the artists.

The exhibition is kindly supported by Balderdash and Pernod Ricard.