Leah Beeferman, «Soft Edge (Rogaland)», 2017, digital print on fabric, 100 x 200 cm
The international group exhibition «Hydrodynamics» features work by Leah Beeferman, Pete Fleming, and Ragna Misvær Grønstad. The artists, inspired by oceans and forces acting upon and exerted by water, deploy various techniques and mediums to examine the latent potential of hazy edges and enquire into the limits of representation.
What fascinates Leah Beeferman about the coast is its elusiveness and abstraction: coasts are where land and water meet, but perhaps cannot be defined much more clearly than that. In order to grasp these complex and constantly-evolving meeting places between land and water, we ascribe them with a false sense of fixity: coastlines. As Beeferman’s images of water demonstrate, photography too makes use of abstraction, freezing both movement and time. But do the artificially defined borders and concepts we impose on the world really make sense? Writing about her artistic research, Beeferman perceptively articulates: “Artists are often asked to imagine new futures, but maybe we first need to re-imagine the present: to consider how we see and what we can’t see, in order to build a stronger foundation of looking, more attuned to the world itself, and, in turn, to our images of it.” Her two works presented in the exhibition — a digital print on fabric and a newspaper edition — are born out research done and material gathered during a residency at AiR Sandnes.
The video installation «Getting Pulled in While Being Thrown Out, Old Traps Disperse Though New Forms» by Pete Fleming, also scrutinises the material condition of seeing though the use of image technology. Hypnotising footage of a jellyfish – the oldest multi-organ species on the planet, and that which appears to be most fit to survive and prosper in warming oceans – is screened though a deconstructed projector lens. While the film’s meandering monologue (attributed to the jellyfish itself) ponders what the point of seeking direction might be, the out-of-focus projector — recalibrated by hand — reveals the way in which lenses organise light into constructed vision: a chosen perspective.
Ragna Misvær Grønstad’s drawings and graphic prints present a strong narrative concerning both the cultural and personal significance of water. The tales she tells about oceans (vast and complex) and their inhabitants (not clearly one thing nor another, but amalgamations of biological features) take on a mythical quality. Like the sights and stories that have inspired her to create these works, they in turn feed the imagination, planting seeds for new visions and storylines to grow from them.
«Hydrodynamics» has been curated by Mirja Majevski out of Open Call applications received by Studio17 during the year 2017.