A neutral, flexible structure by Morten Torgersrud
For many years Morten Torgersrud has photographed various landscapes in the Barents region and investigated their meaning; from residential areas, architecture and town plans, to the ideological landscape created by certain ideas of geography in older photographs. In the book A neutral, flexible structure it is the economic and abstract landscapes that are investigated through a series of images from this area.
A neutral, flexible structure presents three markedly different but related modes of using photography as a strategy for representing landscape, place and history.
The book presents a new text by David Cunningham about Morten Torgersruds images, please scroll down for an excerpt.
To purchase the book, place an order to Torpedo Books.
Morten Torgersrud holds his BA in Photography from the University of Brighton (1997) and his MA in Photography from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts (2002). His last project Circulating sites was exhibited at Fotogalleriet in Oslo 2011 where it also received the BHK Fotokunst-prize. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as Collective matters (curated by Hilde Methi, Trøndelag Senter for Samtidskunst, Trondheim, 2010) and Nameless science (curated by Henk Slager, Apexart, New York, 2008), and his works have been acquired by several Norwegian public collections. He has previously published two artist books: Murmanskrovaniemikirkenes (2004) and [untitled] (2009).
David Cunningham, Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Westminster. His major research interests are in the avant-garde, modernism, critical theory, aesthetics, and urban theory. He is currently working on a monograph on late modernism and abstraction. Cunningham is Deputy Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the co-ordinator of the Westminster English Colloquia series, and a member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy.
The Spectres of Abstraction and the Place of Photography (excerpt)
By David Cunningham
For nearly half of A neutral, flexible structure’s pages, a run of forty-one photographs in total, the camera’s gaze is pointed downwards at the ground. Earth. Twigs. Stones. Gravel. Scrub. Clumped soil. Turning the pages, particularly in this first sequence, demands a distinctive kind of concentration, a compulsion to pay attention which we might normally associate with a certain practice of minimalism. Three initial images bring us gradually in, bending down to get closer to the matter in hand. Different materials predominate in short sequences: wood in the ninth and tenth images; stone in those from 22 to 25.
At first sight, such a series might seem to belong to a historical genre of landscape art; part of what Robert Macfarlane describes as the latter’s ‘attentive’ and ‘gripping exactitude to certain forms of matter (ice, rock, light, sand, moorland, water, air), and to certain arrangements of space (altitude, edges, valleys, ridges, plains, horizons, slopes)’. Certainly up until the abrupt shift to the forty-second image that opens the second sequence of photographs in A neutral, flexible structure, with its study of an unquestionably human structure – a cluster of slightly decrepit-looking wires emerging from between the angle of two planks – the book’s main subject would indeed appear to be the ‘close-up textures’ of unpeopled and isolated nature: ‘the wild places’.