Helena Blomqvist: The Great Silence
Galerie Forsblom Stockholm
April 5–May 12, 2019
Opening in the presence of the artist, April 4, 5-7pm
In her new series of photographs, Helena Blomqvist has with her unique expression, created a realm where events and incidents intertwine into a story, where each photograph is like a scene in a film. The story takes place in the near future and the works are joined by the theme of resistance and defense, a wish upon the moon, and the legend of Joan of Arc.
The works are photographed in incredibly beautiful and puissant landscapes, reminiscing of Ansel Adam's early landscape photography. In one of the works a knight in full armor is contemplating the scenery of a mountain lake in the moonlight. Black swans approach, as if they are carrying an omen of something extraordinary and sinister yet to come. All is calm and quiet, like in the eye of the storm. The silence is tangibly present in Blomqvist's works and there are references to classic silent movies, film noir, as well as cinematic sceneries from the wild west. In a beech forest, a group of knights have consolidated. The sunny autumn daylight gives their armor a warm shimmer and the setting resembles a film scene of a knight's epos.
In another work, there is a clear reference to Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal. The photograph is taken at the beach where the Death comes to collect the knight. As the knights arrive to the beach at twilight in Blomqvist’s photograph, the lingering atmosphere is the same as in Bergman’s film. The moon is recurring as a light in the dark or as a utopian place in space.
Blomqvist explores the image of the legend of Joan of Arc and how she has been portrayed in film, theater, photographs, paintings and sculptures. Blomqvist’s knights are examining the role as The Maid of Orléans. The armor becomes a symbol and a protection to reside in the world, but it is also heavy, crude and awkward. Roses with their thorns ensnare around the knight’s armor and the red velvet is a contrast to the cold silver plating. The photographs are charged with connotations and the color of red can be interpreted as a metaphor for love, power, blood or revolution.
The knights are united and ride next to each-other in the deserted scenery - the battle has not yet taken place, rather awaiting what is next to come. When is the battle that they fight and who is their enemy? The title of the exhibition, The Great Silence, sets the tone in all of the works. The photographs tell a story of existentiality, about a search for something other, an ambience in our present and an apprehension of our mortality. Blomqvist’s images are chimeric, dreamlike sceneries with a filmic storytelling. Her infallible sense of hues and light brings references to historical paintings to mind. With her technical skills and meticulous craftsmanship, together with her imagery and stories, she has created her own unique expression.
Blomqvist (b. 1975) studied at the School of Photography and Film in Gothenburg, Sweden (1997–2002). Blomqvist's work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, including at Vida Museum & Konsthall, Halltorp, Bror Hjorts Museum, Uppsala, Linköpings Konsthall, Linköping, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden, the Swedish Embassy in Berlin, Germany and at Living Art Museum Nylo, Reykjavik, Iceland. Her works are represented in collections at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Borås Art Museum, Borås, Sweden and in private collections.