Thursday 15 September, by invitation only
Friday 16 September 11.00 - 21.00
Saturday 17 September 11.00 - 19.00
Sunday 18 September 11.00 - 19:00
The Ravestijn Gallery is proud to present a selection of works by Katie Burnett (b. 1985, USA) , Asger Carlsen (b. 1973, Denmark), Pacifico Silano (b. 1986, USA) and Theis Wendt (b. 1981, Denmark) at Unseen 2022.
Together, their projects address a range of burning social questions - from Silano's look at LGBTQ+ identity and its representations, to Wendt's conceptual musings on our relationship with nature in the Anthropocene era. The notion of distortion is also a shared anchor; visible in Burnett's imaginative self-portraits, and omnipresent in Carlsen's otherworldly digital manipulations. Throughout, each of these artists' distinct visual languages upturn photographic conventions, positing new visual vocabularies in their explorations of the world around them.
Abstract, austere and instantly intriguing, Theis Wendt's illusionary works consider the human thirst for authenticity at a time when our grasp on reality has been transformed by technological change. What happens when nature can no longer be considered authentic, or when an image loses its referent? Here, his puzzling pieces offer a peeping portal into the wider presentation. Venetian blinds set in pools of resin, their slats occasionally protruding, are neither objects nor images, but locked in a state of flux. Standing before Wendt's double-sided windows, we soon start to wonder whether we're gazing in, or if we're looking out.
Illusion and intrigue continue in the peculiar world of Asger Carlsen, who presents a series of his signature black and white photo-manipulations. Each one is a careful composite of multiple seamlessly-bound images, showing recognisable yet contorted components of a human figure - be it the ridges of a spine or the contours of muscle under skin. But Carlsen's digital renderings create something unfamiliar, alien, and at times, overwhelmingly haunting. To complete the disturbing effect, his reimagined bodies - stripped forever of their primary function - are displayed on shelves like sculptural ornaments.
For stylist, fashion director and photographic artist Katie Burnett, inky black and white representations of the human form are also a running fixture, namely in the shape of various inventive self-portraits. With little to photograph during periods of paralysing lockdown, Burnett turned the lens on herself, her cats, and her immediate surroundings, using household items - from rubber bands to ramen noodles - in an ingenious game of play. The resulting images were brought together in her first monograph, Cabin Fever, published by Art Paper Editions in 2021.
Where Burnett's project can be understood as a joyful act of self-expression. Pacifico Silano's work has markedly heavier undertones, whilst also speaking deeply to his own identity - and to that of a wider LGBTQ+ community. Spurred on by the erasure of his uncle's story, who was himself lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Silano turned to gay pornographic magazines that preceded or aligned with this time period; the kind of images his uncle might have looked at. Rephotographing sections of the magazines as a foundation for new works, Silano highlights the tension between the sexual liberation of the 1970s and the tragic sense of loss that followed, as well as dissecting representations of an archetypal masculinity that the magazines proffered.