Indepth Arts News: |
"John Olav Riise: A Norwegian Modernist Rediscovered"
2007-06-12 until 2007-08-17
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
The largest exhibition of works by Norwegian photographer John Olav Riise (1885–1978) outside of Norway will be on view at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America. Critically acclaimed in France and a major influence in his time, Riise holds a unique position on the international art scene and within Norwegian photographic history. While his Norwegian colleagues were inspired by English and German photography, Riise was one of the few to look to France. From the quiet life of a small rural community on the west coast of Norway, he came to exhibit yearly at The International Salon of Photography in Paris together with well known photographers such as Robert Demachy and Frantisek Drtikol at a time when Man Ray, Andre Masson, Max Ernst, and others were exhibiting early Surrealist works.
No other Norwegian photographer has managed to combine elements from Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism to develop a Modernist visual language as Riise has done. Considered a pioneer in manual processing techniques, he worked against the dominant conventions of photography by experimenting with the layering of several negatives in a single image and coloring his photographs.
Comprising approximately 50 photographs from the 1920s to the 1950s, the exhibition sheds light upon Riise’s development and his research into the visual aspects of photography as a medium. It highlights his transition from Pictorialism to Cubism and documents the influence of French painting—particularly the Neo Classicism of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres—as well as the more specific photographic aspects of Modernism on his work. The exhibition also explores Riise’s experimental treatment of the photograph itself, which led him towards Surrealism and Abstraction.
The exhibition is drawn from the collection of the Henie Onstad Art Centre in Oslo, Norway, where it was on view during the fall of 2006. It is curated by Eva Klerck Gange, curator at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo.
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