The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth
C-print meets up with wonderful Swedish photographer duo Inka & Niclas Lindergård who tells us about their much awaited first solo show in Stockholm and a long-term interest in the mechanics dictating the human relationship to various natural phenomena.
As for the title of our show, The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, it actually relates to natural phenomena found in the appearance of a sunset, where The Belt of Venus represents the pink line out in the sky and the shadow of the earth is the aerial blue line seen below. The sunset is a recurring element in our body of work and we have been working around it since long. What is omnipresent as a notion in our work is the visual relationship we as humans have to nature; the impact deriving for instance from popular culture on how we perceive and relate to natural phenomena visually and viscerally (Inka). When we were working with Watching Humans Watching we found ourselves taking an interest in the behavioral patterns and mannerisms of the people we saw being out on natural excursions. You realized at a certain point that much of the way they acted, for example dressing up in certain attire, is resulted by what they’ve priory seen in images and photographs that in part dictate their expectations and idea of the experience they’re about to have (Niclas). Take the time we were working with northern lights; we realized that we had such a clear image of what they should look like and yet we’d never been close to seeing them in person. There was a feeling that the composite image of northern lights from fragments of imagery stored in the back of the mind took precedence over the real thing once seen live (Inka).
When we met years back, none of us however was really working around nature yet as photographers indivdually. Rather what joined us together in collaborative process was this shared genuine interest in the medium of photography itself. Today location of course is paramount and we’ll try to choose locations like islands that allow us to work with different types of natural sceneries; mountains, water, sand, rocks at once over a period of time (Inka). Traditionally our work often spun out of rather simple ideas and from there it is this tentative process of trying our hands to see if and how something can be realized visually. It’s all very intuitive and it gets mapped out as the course of action takes place on location (Niclas). Perhaps we complement each other in so far that Niclas is very technically inclined and will assess plausibility and limitations while I am generally less clouded and freer in my ideas. It's rare that we evade an idea entirely without giving it an attempt though (Inka).
Yet another thing that characterizes our work is the notion that much of what we do can only be perceived through the photography we present, that essentially it’s a question of doing a performance where we intervene and interact with nature in front of the camera, which is there to capture it. We’ll use for example colours or reflective materials that somehow interact with the flash of the camera, producing a certain visual effect. Moreover, that’s something we can’t ourselves predict entirely until the shot is there. There’s something faintly magical about this ephemeral moment that’s transient to seconds. Since we are two, people will often ask us about the specifics of the collaborative process and about how we divide the work on site but ultimately what is seen on camera is many times enabled by the fact that we actually have four hands working simultaneously with various tasks for the shot. It’s in essence a collaboration between us two, the camera and all these various elements that work together at the same time out on location, like the light and the wind (Inka).
In a way you could say that this exhibition is a comprised form of our second book that will soon be unveiled that we have been working on for a few years and that takes off where the last one ended. Our first exhibition we did with Grundemark Nilsson in Berlin in 2011 in association to our first book so the same pattern presents itself yet again with this simultaneous working with an exhibition and a book. We’ve been wanting to thoroughly present our work in Stockholm in a more complete fashion since long, having mostly exhibited overseas which also partly runs in line with our working with our projects overseas. Sweden has always been the place to we where return from somewhere with footage and material to carry the working process further. So it's nice to finally show ourselves as artists here as well. I think many people have seen images of our works without actually having had the opportunity to see them in physical form mounted in an exhibition room yet (Inka).
Most of the works seen in the show are produced in the last three years and have never been shown before. In the last six months leading up to the show we've been working on three-dimensional sculptural objects which represents a new branch and command in our body of work and for which we've been transferring our images onto the surface of the objects. It was a conscious choice to embark on something new for the exhibition, to present to alongside our most recent projects Family Portrait and Vista Point. Seeing however that we had not exhibited in Sweden before, it also made sense to juxtapose together a few more series of works, especially since we've always worked in an overlapping fashion with several projects over the course of certain time (Niclas). When we look at a few our projects at once, it always becomes clear that we often are revolving around the same continuous narrative but from an array of different angles so to speak. All of our work would ultimately fit under the same title;The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth had we actually chosen to. Titles for specific projects in that light become mostly or rather a method of working, allowing a beginning and closing, to which there will still be a continuation but in another form (Inka).
In Family Portrait we travelled around to various places taking portraits of ourselves with our then newborn son wearing reflex suits which when captured with the camera offer the effect of anonymizing our appearance on the image. Vista Point brings a similar working approach to mind where we worked on sites, in national parks and the likes in the States, where stationary binoculars or tower viewers are found probing scenic views. The point of departure for the work was the question of where all these thousands of images taken on the same site of the same views end up. Using the quarter you pay to use these binoculars, we taped it onto the lense insterad to cover up the view, as a sort of forceful intervention. And so we did this for three weeks putting up dictating rules to direct us about when to stop and shoot, for example if passing a sign about scenic views or when seeing a group of people gathered to take pictures around a spot (Niclas).
While it’s not at all a self-objective for our images to be aesthetically titillating we do like to hover around the border of hyper-romantic, on the verge almost of romantic cliché. But for all the commanding colours there’s also a certain darkness embedded in our work which might not be as blatant at first but yet it’s still there and serves as a necessary balance, lending a feeling of menace to the overall view, which also parallels the other side and perception of nature that exists beyond the mere romantic (Niclas).
1) Becoming Wilderness V
2) Vista Point IV
3) Niclas Lindergård on location
4) Inka Lindergård on location
5) Installation view The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Grundmark Nilsson Gallery 2016; Adaptive Colorations I (Center)
6) Installation view The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Grundmark Nilsson Gallery 2016; Adaptive Colorations II (Center)
7) Installation view The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Grundmark Nilsson Gallery 2016
8) Family Portraits VII
9) Vista Point I
10) Becoming Wilderness XVII
11) Installation view; Pentagram Position XV
Inka & Niclas's The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth showed at Grundemark Nilsson in Stockholm through October 29 (from September 10)
To learn more about Inka & Niclas, visit:
or visit Grundemark Nilsson Gallery: