Midnight Moments 2012-2023

Featuring documentation of 130 artists. To be published this fall.

Pre order here: https://www.phaidon.com/monacelli/art-and-photography/midnight-moment-a-decade-of-artists-in-times-square-9781580936699/


Exhibition at Kunsthall 3,14, Bergen, Norway 16.2–19.5.2024. Curated by Malin Barth.
Installation; Framed photographs, glass eyes, velvet, wooden box.

Installation shot Kunsthall 3,14. Photography by Guttorm Glomsaas

The exhibition Morn by the Norwegian artist Trine Lise Nedreaas questions both individual and collective visions of the future – dreams and ambitions, but also dystopias. In a cultural moment characterised by turbulent global events, reaction-driven communication with speculative headlines, and the never-ending lust for something bigger, we all seem to be holding our breaths. But what is it that we are waiting for?

Two glass eyes lie on a soft velvet pillow, unpainted and blank. The eyes, unfocused and glazed, might have seen too much, or nothing at all. All of a sudden and never before, have humans had similar access to knowledge and possibilities to connect with the globalized world. Encountering the endless stream of information, the brain is hardwired to pick out the worst. Doomscrolling the looming disasters of the future, the pleas and cries bring us to a breaking point, and an emotional and cynical void emerges. While the overwhelming amount of emotions and information urges some to act, others shut down and withdraw.

History is commonly understood as a teacher that might help us handle the present and control the future. Something horrific in the past drives us to prevent similar situations from happening again. However, while it may be possible to detect similar mechanisms between an event in the past and the present, the contexts might be inherently different. Historical events might be used as lessons to prevent evil, but also as arguments for present actions whose effects we cannot fully predict. Each action that seeks to change the future brings not only solutions to problems, but also new challenges and threats with unknown consequences. Humans today might not be any smarter, wiser, or more morally capable – just different.

Nedreaas' hand-manipulated photographs can be seen as experimentations with layers of time: one captured in the photo, another in the physical act of curling up the printed image, and a third emerging in their crossings and entanglements. The captured moment of history becomes damaged, torn and wounded, absorbing interpretations. At the same time, the tactile process of twisting and folding the material creates surprises, and a new, unprecedented dimension appears through the broken and distorted fibres of the image. Unidentifiable waters and once familiar skies meet halfway, engulfing the horizon with the promise of something new.

Somewhere in the future, but already today, a new generation is born. Despite being innocent to the state of the world as individuals, the new generation will inherit the collective past with its burdens and promises. Perhaps the innocent gaze will provoke new ideas and fresh takes on old problems – breaking the exhausted traditions and creating escape routes from the dead-ends. The threat turns into a possibility, an invitation to make choices. Curiously, art withholds a similar openness. It can suggest, argue and propose, but each encounter might create new unforeseen interpretations, each different to the next.

Heidi Kukkonen 2024