2018 #15

Oblique

by Eva Stenram

Selected by
The Ravestijn Gallery,
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Selected by The Ravestijn Gallery,
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

"Even though the photographs were originally meant to be focused on sport, the series I’ve created captures moments of tenderness, and in some cases even eroticism."

Unseen Platform: The basis of your work lies in the archive. How does working with this type of material influence your artistic process?

Eva Stenram: Working with archival materials introduces elements that surprise me, many of which I wouldn’t have included had I authored the pictures more conventionally. My archive brings me into direct contact with our cultural and photographic history, and it’s exciting to be able to have a ‘conversation’ with these images from the past.

My interventions involve re-photographing sections of a source-image, after which I submit them to darkroom tricks and, more often than not, digital manipulation. At times, these interventions subvert, undermine or challenge the original photograph’s function. At other times, they instead underline particular characteristics of the original images. Ultimately, the archival image becomes something new; something that it was not before.

Much of your work has dealt with erotic imagery, but in Bearings, you switch your focus towards sports photography. What inspired this change?

My interest in sports imagery came from a curiosity to see how idealised forms of the body were presented in photography from the 1960s. For me, this era represents a pivotal point in history that brought about a sexual revolution, political upheaval and a changing conception of gender roles. Today these changes feel old, whilst the bodies depicted – like the ink and paper of the sports magazines they’re in – have also degraded. Even though the photographs were originally meant to be focused on sport, the series I’ve created captures moments of tenderness, and in some cases even eroticism. My work therefore plays with this confusing dissolution of the boundaries of the body..

When using imagery from the past, nostalgia often comes into play. What does this mean for your work?

Nostalgia is an essential part of the photographic affliction. An image from the past, whether it’s from the 1960s or last year, is likely to be accompanied by feelings of yearning for that which has been lost to time. As I intervene and re-present my images, the shift from past to present is highlighted. The meaning of my work relies on this interplay between past and present, examining how we look at images and how we re-imagine, daydream and fantasise about photographic imagery.

Read more (1 min read)

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Eva Stenram

Berlin, DE

Eva Stenram

Eva Stenram

Berlin, DE

Eva Stenram (b. 1976, Sweden) treats the archive as both a source of inspiration and as a library of raw materials from which to create new work. Delving into old family collections, space station and planetary records, vintage pornography and pin-up magazines her collection of archival imagery spans a vast spread of genres. As she sifts through and transforms flat surfaces, inserting playful manipulations, Stenram finds herself starting a dialogue creating an interplay between the past and present. Ultimately, her work is about being a viewer — a voyeuristic consumer — and how we daydream, fantasise and imagine new worlds.

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