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"Written in Light" and "Film Inside an Image" open at Moderna Museet
Gerard Byrne, Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli. Film Inside an Image., 2016 © Gerard Byrne. Courtesy of Gerard Byrne & Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm.


STOCKHOLM.- The exhibition explores Moderna Museet’s collection of photography from the second half of the 19th century, and includes works by some of the world’s most famous photographers: Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Gustave Rejlander, and Carleton E. Watkins.

Since its invention, photography has developed, changed, and been used for many different aims and purposes. With the breakthrough of digital images, and their omnipresence in social media, photography is once again in a period of change. This gives all the more reason to look back and consider the impact of its legacy on contemporary photography. This exhibition highlights the museum’s collection of daguerreotypes, but also gives examples of other early photographic techniques. It is an adaptation of a chapter in the project Another Story, which filled the entire collection exhibition with photography and photo-based art at Moderna Museet in 2011.

Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli/Film Inside an Image
Curator: Magnus af Petersens

The title of the Irish artist Gerard Byrne’s new work is Southern Sami for “film inside and image”. The movie is shot at the Biological Museum in Stockholm with stuffed Nordic animals against a backdrop painted by the artist Bruno Liljefors. The museum was built in 1893 and the world’s first natural history museum using a large-scale diorama, a format using genuine, three-dimensional objects against a painted backdrop that give the illusion of animals or people in their natural habitat. This August the museum will close for refurbishment indefinitely.

The only source of light in the museum is from the windows in the ceiling. Byrne thus compares the museum to a camera, which creates its frozen images through light. When photography and film were still in their infancy, visitors had this opportunity to experience the Nordic wilderness in the middle of the city. Byrne films this setting in one unbroken tracking of the camera. The stuffed animals look as if they have paused in mid-movement.

Before and Behind the Lens
Written in Light and Film Inside an Image are part of the photographic project Before and Behind the Lens, which consists of a series of exhibitions, discussions and guided tours. Before and Behind the Lens examines the role of photographic images in art and the transformation of the medium since the early experiments with new technology in the 19th century, to today’s explorations of the potential of the optical lens. Moderna Museet has one of Europe’s finest collections of photography, ranging from pioneers such as Julia Margaret Cameron to many of the most influential contemporary artists who visualise the world for us with the camera lens.






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