Cob Gallery returns to Photo London with a much anticipated debut presentation from celebrated Danish photographer Casper Sejersen. Sejersen has become known for his inventive, symbolic and challenging imagery that balances serenity with violence and fabrication with fact.
This presentation of archive works coincides with Sejersen’s debut solo exhibition One, Two, Three, Four - featuring a large body of new personal works at Cob Gallery, London (10th May- 15th June).
Cob Gallery’s presentation for Photo London 2019 sees Sejersen’s works available for acquisition for the first time, and features archive images from his publication Belongs to Joe (MACK, 2015). The images produced for Belongs To Joe respond to his employment as the photographer for Lars von Trier’s 2013 film Nymphomaniac. Hired for the press campaign and handed a copy of the script, Sejersen found himself diverted by what he regarded as its numerous unfilmable elements. He set about developing an alternative visual response, transmuting the themes of the film into a symbolic language centered on playing cards set out according to the Fibonacci sequence.
Sejersen declares himself influenced by music; a colour; an expression; a word. His images suggest the contours of an imagined continent soundtracked by Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Fleeting, thunderclap moments — a bed sheet caught in mid-air; a car exploding — are offset by others that suggest prolonged exposures and protracted stillness. Improbable, lost-world landscapes cloaked in mist; flowers wilting softly in a vase. A synaesthetic rhythm begins to emerge where waves of seismic duration intersect with staccato shots, and colours take on pitch and volume. And all the while, Sejersen’s subjects are depicted with a directness that invites the impression of a veiled symbolism.
On the one hand, this directness is linked with an honesty that matches Sejersen’s disinterest in arguments between digital and analogue photography, and his openness to the creative potential afforded by combining both techniques. On the other, it has to do with his interest in blurring the lines between accident and design. The attraction of the Fibonacci sequence starts to make sense here: a key to some of nature’s most striking and intricate forms whose baffling simplicity — add two numbers in the sequence to get the next — nevertheless produces an uncanny impression of intelligent design. This impression in germane to Sejersen’s interest in confounding the space between composition and chance encounter, where stage sets seem accidental and the apparently accidental is in fact subtly organised and considered, returning the viewer’s gaze with an unnerving frankness.
Drawing a lineage to the conceptual preoccupations of the Romantic movements, Sejersen harnesses intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing emphasis on feelings such as apprehension and awe and experimenting with expression in order to free it from conventional restraints. Like the early Romantics, Sejersen's imagery serves as a portal between the idealised, beautiful and sublime to more unsettling experiences of human experience and memory. In early 19th Century, Romanticism came into being at a time when Europe was in the grip of revolutions, violence and tumultuous events - art highlighted these changes taking place by alienating itself from Classicism. It is arguable, that in an uncertain contemporary political and social landscape, Sejersen’s works signify the emergence of a new brand of Romantic artist.