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Laila Svensgaard

Syncope Twilight (1998-2019) 34

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Laila Svensgaard

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Syncope Twilight (1998-2019) 34 by Laila Svensgaard
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Syncope Twilight (1998-2019) 34

by

Laila Svensgaard

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$ 900

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Overview

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2020

Photogravure etching on paper

Unique Work

Dimensions: 70cm (H) x 40cm (W) / 27.6" (H) x 15.7" (W)

Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.

Artist Statement

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“Syncope Twilight 1998-2019 ” is a series of photogravure etchings that are a part of an ongoing exploration of expired analogue photographic material and the lapse of time.

The works depict a 35mm filmstrip expired in 1998 on which I photographed the color of twilight from my balcony in 2019. Coincidences such as the condition, age, exposure and development of the film has resulted in the emulsion being damaged and all that the filmstrip shows is its destroyed chemistry.

My inspiration for this series came from reading Vladimir Nabokov's autobiography “Speak. Memory” (1951) wherein he uses the terms syncope to describe his childhood as a forfeited part of his life that he can never revisit because Russia no longer exists but has been replaced by the USSR. I had just returned to my native Denmark after 17 years living in the UK when I read the book, and I recognised the sense of forfeit Nabokov described.

1998 had been a seminal year for me. It was the year I graduated with a BA in painting, it was the year where I met my ex-husband and the father of my daughter, it was the year I started working commercially with photography, and it was the year I stopped making art for 12 years. 1998 was the start of twelve syncopal years where I stopped making art.

In 2015 I began to buy analogue photographic film on E-bay that had expired in 1998. I thought it was interesting how the film had expired but still existed and the idea of something expiring but still being present fascinated me.

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Artist Profile

Born: 1974

Hometown: Tim

Based in: Copenhagen, Denmark

Laila Svensgaard was born in 1974 in Tim, Denmark and studied painting at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London between 1995 to 1998 and an MFA in Critical Studies at Malmo Art Academy, Sweden between 2013 to 2015. She lived in London, UK from 1998 to 2010 and currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Svensgaard’s practice extends across photography, drawing , printmaking, sound, installations and independent artists books publishing.

Her works are on a fundamental level investigating registration in the photographic process, yet her artistic experiments are often rooted in the irrational aspects of the conditions for light, movements and materials. A working method more similar to a painter’s request, rather than the indexical truth ridden properties connected to the photograph as documentation.

In recent years Svensgaard has mainly been focusing on creating ‘cameraless’ photographs, which materialize through a curious medium of experimentation. The images are created through the use of a simple light source exposure and light sensitive photographic paper that preserves and traces the imprint as a negative image. Often her approaches takes a starting point peculiar small experiments, such as developing ‘Pocket Photos’ by asking people to carry light sensitive paper in their pocket, creating a small active camera inside the trousers, that records light, movements and the pocket fabric's patterns, resulting in an abstract composition. Or by registering the movement of the moon, by installing a self-made pinhole camera on a rooftop to capture beautiful drawings of light, made by cosmic movements.
Through a philosophical investigation of photographic materiality, Svensgaard creates a small photographic universe, conditioned by phenomenological questions. In Svensgaard's artistic work the photographic image is not necessarily statements about the world, but represents itself as a small piece of our world's reality. Her photographic works draw us into a poetic universe of dust, cracks, light, shadows and darkness to explore aesthetic meditative dimensions of the photographic process.


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