Inka (1985, Finland) and Niclas (1984, Sweden) Lindergård are an awarded artist duo who works primarily with photography-based art. They have worked together since 2007 and live in Stockholm, Sweden.
The materiality of photography is crucial in Inka and Niclas Lindergård’s work which tells of the contemporary perception processes of nature and the connection of the photographic medium with the stylisation of landscape. Bright utopian landscapes in their works address the spectators’ experience, making them notice not only the beauty but also the culture. An open portal to the hyperrealistic synthesis of beauty, kitsch and visual desire in the language of photography.
Throughout their work, the artists have investigated our contemporary perception of nature through the photographic medium. Our notion of desirable scenery worldwide has been made possible not only by travels to spellbinding locations, but by our consumption of nature via technology. It is through the camera lenses and the digital screens that we experience nature and confirm our own existence.
Family Portraits is a collection of self-portraits taken during the artists, and their two children’s, travels to idyllic panoramic settings across the world. It is a continuous investigation of how we perceive and save our memory of nature through the mediated picture, but also how we use the mediation of nature for self-identification. “I ́m one with nature, you can see it on my Instagram account”.
All dressed up in full body suits that bounce the light of the flash back into the camera lens, the shapes of what we read as a family constellation indicate anonymity. As with many photographs throughout history, these images serve as evidence that four bodies were present in the scenery. Simultaneously we experience the four individual’s absence in the photographs as their features are erased – like radiant phantoms waiting to transcend to another dimension. The role of nature as an enduring source to idealization remains untouched.
Abstracting the ordinary and enabling tools to the photographic image and its psychological mechanisms has been an important feature throughout Inka & Niclas’ work. In the series Liquify, the seemingly collapsed photographs have been placed on the wall, as if wet towels hung to dry. Their glass-like surface suggests a materiality more alluring than the mundane shape. It seems as though gravity has decided their form. A complete understanding of the medium proves to be difficult, as the objects are substantially manipulated into new materia in their own right.
Parts of the romantic scenery are visible, and we can only imagine the beauty of the initial image, while we are deprived of the complete motif. The viewer is thus invited to fill the void with his or her own desires and ideas of the perfect shot.
The starting point for the duo again lies in the common natural themes that our cameras seems to like, but in Luminous Matter the artist has zoomed in, both in terms of actual subject matter but also geographically. Where the duos earlier works have been situated predominantly in large scale grand scenery abroad, Luminous Matter depicts swedish wild flowers found in close proximity to the artists home in Stockholm.
The inflated title points far out in cosmos and eternity, contrasting the small short lived swedish roadside summer flowers. By throwing retro reflective powder into the scene, illuminating it with the flashgun, the artists superimposes an explosion of glowing particles resembling popular space imagery, common astrophotography or an exploding nebula from the NASA archives.
4K Ultra HD deals with our consumption of landscapes through (camera-)lenses and screens. Our image of the landscape is formed by photography and nature is constructed by the stream of images on our screens. The photographic works and installations of the exhibition focus on the “4K ULTRA HD” image search, terms used in the display industry to illustrate that their screens have a True-to-life picture quality.
Search algorithms list the most popular images in descending order and define which images we like to surround ourselves with, which images we download and save as desktop background on our computers.
“-It’s scrambled and amplified reworkings of the already overly-saturated landscape imagery we like to surround us with.”
The artist duo travels together, seeking places to continue their practice of creating a different representation of nature, using the photographic image to capture their landscapes.
Integral to their practice is the wish to consider what it is in a sunset over an ocean or the view of a mountain range that is so emotionally spellbinding and continues to fill us with awe? What is it that drives us to go out there and collect these images over and over again.
Inka & Niclas’ practice evolves around an exploration of the different components that constitute the powerful psychological effects of different natural phenomena and landscapes.
By performing small actions in consonance with nature during the exposure, such as arranging branches, throwing reflective powder to the wind or illuminating a cave with color flashes the duo detaches the photographic reality from the physical.
The series of sculptures recur throughout the artists exhibitions, their form and shape depending on what work is hanging on the wall.
The objects are hand sculpted and dipped into a dissolved floating version of the photograph, transferring the photograph onto the object’s surface, making a 3 dimensional fragmented version of the very same photograph.
“For us the whole process with the digital origin of the photographic file and the very analog muscle straining process of shaping-sanding and painting the objects, along with the poetic act of physically dipping the object into the photograph, are interesting enough. But it’s also of course an exploration on the materiality and readability of photographs.
For us the objects in the room bring energy as it somehow questions the very same photograph it has been dipped into and now mimics”.
“It was the fourth time for us driving through US, ticking of the superstars of scenic views one by one. There were heaps cameras and phones everywhere and a constant sound of shutters and digital clicks. After a while it started to feel like all the lenses were wearing out the landscape, that somehow the views were slowly eroding from all the thousands of exposures that were made everyday. We started to question why we should add another photograph to this growing pile of random landscape photography.
So we glued the quarter coin, the same coin that you put in the tower viewers at the famous lookout points „Vista Points“, as an act of violence on the landscape photographs. Photographs that didn’t need to be taken.”
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth
The series consists of eight images of rocks in the shoreline dripping with lush colours and with the open horizon as their backdrop. For a moment the sunset left the sky and moved into these rocks. It is not an experience recorded with the eye but the migration of the colors has, through the testimony of the camera, been registered into a new corner of our reality. Every different rock is photographed in a new sunset. Obviously, the endeavor is not to recreate an actual sunset, instead the work lies in the time consuming and persistent process of repeatedly approaching and deconstructing its magical effects.
The title is based on the actual atmospheric phenomenons that are visible in a sunset or sunrise. The Shadow of the Earth (or The Earth’s shadow) is visible in the opposite half of the sky to the sunset or sunrise, and is seen right above the horizon as a dark blue band. The Belt of Venus is a pink band that is visible above the dark blue of The Shadow of the Earth, in the same part of the sky.
While working on Watching Humans Watching, 2008-2010, Inka and Niclas began to contemplate their own mystification with nature, which is influenced by fairy tales and myths. In the series, Saga (fairy tale) 2009-2011, the images have been taken in almost the same places as those featured in Watching Humans Watching. Yet in Saga practically every element of the image is predetermined. Here, the artists themselves have intervened in nature through the coloring or addition of objects, and through experimentation with smoke bombs and filters. In the process, they have dispensed with digital post-production.
Groups and couples, the subjects of their first series Watching Humans Watching, are pictured moving in seemingly predetermined formations and patterns. They dress in clothing, which attempts to imitate the colors of their unfamiliar surroundings. The artist couple observes from a distance, as if they were photographing rare animals. „Even if we take pictures of people in the countryside, we see them much as we would see lions and zebras. The human (Homo sapiens) travels now more than ever before, frantically looking for something that has not yet been destroyed. In the desert, far from their original habitat, they make formations reminiscent of penguins in the Antarctic.“
Forsa Folkhögskola, Sweden, 2007-2008
Gamleby Fotoskola, Sweden 2005-2007
Nordens fotoskola, Biskops Arnö, Sweden 2004-2005
Statens Konstråd (Public Art Agency), Sweden
The Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden
Fries Museum, The Netherlands
Nya Karolinska Solna, Stockholms Landsting, Sweden
Akademiska Sjukhuset, Uppsala Landsting, Sweden
Stockholm Konst, Sweden
Edit Maryon Foundation, Switzerland
Private collections in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, Slovakia, USA, Canada, China, Brazil, and Puerto Rico
European Month of Photography Arendt Award, 2021
Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Grant), 2020
Nominated to The Swedish Photo Book Price, Sweden 2018
Grant, The Swedish Authors Fund, Sweden 2017
Winner of Swedish Book Art Price, Sweden 2017
Grant, Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Sweden 2014
Swedish Author’s Fund, Sweden 2013
Nominated to The German Photo Book Award, Germany 2013
Nominated to Foam Paul Huf Award, The Netherlands 2012
Winner of Swedish Photobook Award, Sweden 2012
Svenska kulturfonden, Finland 2010
Stiftelsen Dialog, Sweden 2008
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Kerber Verlag, Germany 2016
The Visible Spectrum, Conveyor Arts, USA 2014
Watching Humans Watching, Kehrer Verlag, Germany 2011
Luminous Matter, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2021
Public Art Work, A Working Lab, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2020
4K ULTRA HD, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2018
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Konstfrämjandet, Örebro, Sweden 2018
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Blackdoor Gallery, Örebro, Sweden 2018
The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden 2016
Photo Basel, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Basel, Switzerland 2015
Becoming Wilderness, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Berlin, Germany 2013
Operakällaren, Stockholm, Sweden 2013
Watching Humans Watching, Landskrona Photo Festival, Sweden 2013
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg, Germany 2013
Becoming Wilderness, Green is Gold, Copenhagen, Denmark 2013
Watching Humans Watching, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Berlin, Germany 2011
Rotating Gallery, New York, US 2009
4K ULTRA HD Wallpaper, SÄS, Psykiatrins Kvarter, Borås, Sweden 2018-2021
A Working LAB, Akademiska hus, Göteborg, Sweden 2020
SÄS, Psykiatrins Kvarter, Borås, Sweden, 2018-2021
BUP, Stockholm, Sweden, 2019
Whiteout, gångtunnel, Nacka, Stockholm, Sweden 2018
Akademiska Sjukhuset, Uppsala, Sweden 2017-2018
Stockholm Sjukhem, Stockholm, Sweden, 2017
Health Center, Stenhagen, Uppsala, Sweden, 2017
Rethinking Nature/Rethinking Landscape, European Month of Photography Arendt,2021
MNHA – Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Award 2021,
Rethinking Nature/Rethinking Landscape, European Month of Photography Arendt Award 2021, Arendt House, Luxembourg.
Rethinking Nature/Rethinking Landscape, EMOP Arendt Award 2021, Circulation(s),Le Centquatre-Paris, Paris, France.
Naturen som plats – verk ur samlingen, Varbergs Konsthall, Varberg, Sweden.
Sea Pieces – Facts and Fiction,Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung, Berlin, Germany.
The RATP invites, works presented on 11 Metro stations in Paris, France.
Sculptural Landscape, part 3, Galleri Format, Malmö, Sweden.
Vista Point. Re-connecting Nature, Kunstverein KunstHaus Potsdam, Germany, 2020
See Beyond the Sea. PhEST Festival Internatzionale Di Fotografia ne Arte, Monopoli, Italy 2020
Sea Pieces – Facts and Fiction, Museum der Westküste, Föhr, Germany, 2020
I relation till – en utställning om rum och plats, Centrum för Fotografi, Stockholm, Sweden, 2020
Photo Miyota – Asama International Photo Festival Miyota, Japan, 2019
newflesh, LightFacory, Charlotte (North Carolina), USA, 2019
The World Around You: Contemporary Art from the Collection, Museum of Art, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2019
BLAST!, Photo Festival, Sandwell, UK, 2019
Sculptural Landscape at Gallery Nouva, Bodö, Norway, 2019
It came from the North, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2019
Copenhagen Photofestival, DK, 2018
Riga Photomonth, LT, 2018
Haute Photographie, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Rotterdam, NL 2018
Fotofestival Łódź, Łódź, Poland 2017
The Collection, Fries Museum, NL 2017
Haute Photographie Fair, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Rotterdam, NL 2017
Wish You Were Here – Mental Health Club, Space 15 Twenty, Los Angeles, USA 2017
BLING BLING BABY!, NRW-Forum, Dusseldorf, Germany 2017
Ordinary, KK Outlet, London, UK 2016
Paris Photo, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Paris, France 2016
Fryspunkt/Freezing Point, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden 2016
Unseen Photo Fair, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2015
Anna Elle Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden 2015
Macrocosmi, Due Ponti Lab, Bologna, Italy 2015
Anna Elle Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden 2014
Unseen Photo Fair, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2014
De: Stockholm, Rollergirl, Gallery Artligue, Paris, France 2014
Blog Re-Blog, Austin Center for Photography, Austin, USA 2014
Frames 2014, GI – Glasgow International, Scotland 2014
Book Watching Humans Watching in The Visible – Contemporary Swedish Photography, Artipelag, Sweden 2014
AIPAD, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, New York, USA 2014
IMA Gallery, Tokyo, Japan 2014
Context Art Miami, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Miami, USA 2013
Nyförvärv, Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden 2013
Radical Fictions IV, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil 2013
Night Contact, London, UK 2013
Blog Re-Blog, SIGNAL Gallery, New York, USA 2013
SP-Arte, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Sao Paulo Brazil 2013
SP-Arte, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Sao Paulo Brazil 2012
Context Art Miami, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery-Swedish Photography, Miami, USA 2012
Planket, curated outdoor exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden 2012
To Sweden, Diplomat, Philadelphia, USA 2012
Corso #3, Detroit, Stockholm, Sweden 2011
Introduction, Trikåfabriken, Stockholm, Sweden 2010
Re:public service photo festival, Stockholm, Sweden 2010
Schwedische Botschaft, Berlin, Germany 2010
Moving Art, touring exhibition, Sweden 2010
Re:public service photo festival, Stockholm, Sweden 2009
CFF/Centrum för fotografi, Stockholm, Sweden 2009
Moderna Museet, Studion, Stockholm, Sweden 2009
Summer reading, Capricious Space, New York, US 2008
Ode to the Animal. Capricious Space. New York, US 2008
Nyans, Vitabergsparken, Stockholm, Sweden 2008
Retina, Fotomuseét, Sundsvall, Sweden 2008
PUB house, Stockholm, Sweden 2008