Project Room: Ola Rindal

Photographies from 1998 to 2008

Exhibition from November 11th, 2005 to January 11th, 2006.

Ola Rindal is born in 1971, in Fåvang, Norway, the country where he began his training as a photographer, in the Photography Pre-Collage Program at Sogn Videregående (1992-93), before moving to Sweden to attend the School of Photography and Film of the Göteborg’s University (1994-97). He currently lives and works in Paris, France Since a few years already, the photographic approach of Ola Rindal is split between on one hand, his relation with the fashion sphere – Ola Rindal is frequently publishing his pictures in magazines such as Dazed and Confused, Vogue, Purple and Self Service – and on the other, a more poetic approach to the photographic medium through his own work as a art photographer. Though both distinct and building on specific aims and purposes, these approaches are not mutually exclusive but appear on the contrary as complementary and carry the same visual and luminous sensitivity that bring them into a coherent relation. However, the notions of proximity and distance, and also of intimacy with the model, are treated in very different ways, depending on the position of the artist as either a fashion – or an art photographer.

Where the fashion photography puts heavy attention to the model and puts him at the front of the stage, Ola Rindal, as an artist, reduces the position of the model to a marginal and discreet detail in the picture, or even replaces the human figure by a bird or a dog. In this case, the title given to the work appears always as simple and objective – Birds and People, Dog Turning, or Man and Spot – and becomes a subterfuge that influences our gaze, and forces us to look for the detail that makes sense. In other respects, as the sophisticated attitude of the fashion model and his direct look at the camera fully reveals the head-on and intimate connection between the photographer and his model, it tends to disappear when Ola Rindal positions himself as an artist. When he catches a model, it will be without his knowledge, from his back, or even in a very short and fugitive moment so as to make our attention slide from the body to the ephemeral action or the fugitive gesture. Working this way, the artist reverses the position of the viewer of a fashion photography by reinstating the visual distance between us and the model, as he puts the viewer in the chair of the distant observer.

If this bipolar relation to the model probably appears as the main distinction between the two aspects of Ola Rindal’s photography, the luminous sensibility in his pictures stands on the contrary as the common factor in all of his work. In some ways following the example of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, Ola Rindal’s work is injected with a Nordic sensibility that pays strong attention to the atmospheric effects produced by the interactions between light, air and water, as well as the psychological impacts of light on our perceptions of the world and the environment.

Frequently drenched in a warm facing sunlight of an autumn afternoon, sometimes underexposed by the twilight or the nightfall setting in, Ola Rindal’s pictures project a mysterious, almost melancholy atmosphere. This unique way of working with light reduces the range of colours, and dims the contrast in the pictures, so that they tend to remind us, almost like the faded colour photographs of our childhood, of the time passing and the melancholy of lost moments and memories. Rainbows, snow, smoke or even clouds of dust are sometimes chosen by the artist as models, and are integrated into games of sharp and blurry, shadow and light, proximity and distance. In the manner of the sfumato effects created five hundred years ago by Leonardo Da Vinci, and revisited more recently by painters such as Gerhard Richter to abstract and reveal the pictorial essence of the picture; Ola Rindal uses the way of the natural light and its imprint on the photographic medium to make the picture unreal, and restore the distance between the reality and its representation in the field of art.

François Danthine
(June 06)