de travers

7 Nov 2017 – 13 Jan 2018

Galerie Maria Lund

Île-de-France, France


Travel Information

  • M8 Chemin Vert / M1 Saint Paul

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With "de travers" (sideways), the photographer Nicolai Howalt and the sculptor Esben Klemann have entered a dialog by taking possession of the gallery space in an unusual way.


The exploration of the fundamental structures and essential components of images (grain, pixels, frames) linked to a very open creative process is at the heart of photographer Nicolai Howalt’s and artist Esben Klemann’s approach. Nicolai Howalt questions notions of life and death (Endings, 2011), sunlight, as a source of healing and as the very origin of photography (Light Break, 2015-2017). Most recently he explored the fundamentals - of metals and chemistry - in order to make them visible, to set a form of portrait in interaction with the photographic process and matter (Elements, 2016-2017). This quest is an attempt to see and to put in perspective human life in the world, especially transitions between different states. Thus, Nicolai Howalt’s work lies at the crossroads of science, documentary photography and art. Esben Klemann is fascinated by lines and grids as neutral shapes and sees them as fundamental components. He brings thin grids of clay into play, to challenge the limits of ceramic matter, unsettles it by creating tension or by jolting it in a never-ending discovery process. Like a musician who composes and recomposes with the same chords - here clay,  dry clay,  firing and enamel. Along with the experimentations with clay, he develops a monumental sculptural work in plaster or cast concrete - always dominated by the line, which he lets wave in surprising shapes, recalling in places the process of ‘a drunken geology’. His highly playful approach - Esben Klemann claims the refusal of boredom and the desire for play value as his initial motivations - can be seen in his drawings and animated cartoons: They are intriguing openings on his work process and the testimony of an assertive and very personal aesthetic where the line, the coming of the shape and the incessant metamorphosis takes us to a captivating chaos.

With de travers Nicolai Howalt and Esben Klemann wanted to make their respective fascinations dialog together, while challenging each other, by turning the common artistic practices upside down. Thus, Howalt the photographer took possession of the floor while Klemann the sculptor took the walls and the empty space: the stoneware “grids” subtly respond to the photographs of frail weavings, works of an invisible moth. A monumental sculpture in situ establishes a connection while forcing a distance, and the observation of a sulphur crystal declined in 12 photo variations - the result of chance and a chemical reaction -  is somewhat reminiscent of an alchemist’s dream. To be continued…

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