Martin Asbaek Gallery, Copenhagen talks to Foam about their
participation in the international photography fair, Unseen, taking place in
Amsterdam in September.
1.What defines Scandinavian photography compared with
that from other parts of the world?
It's hard to say. I don't think that Danish photography has any
special features. Danish photography is highly international. Which
isn't so surprising since many of our photographers are educated at
various schools abroad. These four artists that we will represent
at UNSEEN, Astrid Kruse Jensen, Trine
Søndergaard, Nicolai Howalt and Ebbe Stub
Wittrup come from four different schools in Europe; Prague, The
Netherlands, Scotland and from Fatamorgana - The Danish School of
Art Photography in Copenhagen, Denmark. But the common feature of
these four artists is an intense and precise aesthetic awareness.
They work with thoroughly planned concepts and whole thematic
2.Can you give us a brief summary of the four artists
you will present at Unseen?
Trine Søndergaard's (b. 1972) work ranges from documentary and
diary sketches to conceptual photography. In recent years she has
focused primarily on the landscape and portrait. Søndergaard is
also working closely with the Danish artist Nicolai Howalt (b.
1970). They are known for the series How to Hunt, that describe the
interplay of man, nature and animal. They are currently at work on
a new common project that we will present at UNSEEN. Nicolai
Howalt's work has documentary references, operating at the
intersection of conceptual photography and installation.
The third artist Astrid Kruse Jensen explores in her work the
borderland between the apparent and the hidden, between the real
And finally the fourth Danish artist Ebbe Stub Wittrup, who has
focused on the photographic medium since the end of the 1990s. His
photographs, whether we look at his neorealistic snapshots or the
more conceptually oriented photo series, display a mysteriousness
that makes one think of a series of narrative parallel worlds.
They are in total four of the best and well established Danish
photographers at the moment. They have all exhibited nationally and
internationally at museums and galleries, and are all represented
in several private as well as public collections.
3.There is limited space for each gallery at the fair so
how will you choose which works get presented?
We are in that lucky situation that all the artists are
currently working on new thematic series, so we have the chance to
present four new projects for the photo fair. We work very closely
with the artist when we select the works for the fairs. The
artistic idiom of the group presentation at the upcoming fair will
be as enigmatic and poetic as a Nordic landscape. It will be
a truly Scandinavian presentation where the artists investigate the
ambivalent space between reality and imagination.
4.You have an art advisory firm as well as a gallery.
What are your key tips for those wanting to collect
MAG doesn't have an advisory firm. Asbæk Art
Consulting is an independent company founded and managed by Thomas
and Patricia Asbæk, Martin Asbæk's brother and mother. An Art
Advisory firm works on other premises and has a completely
different structure than the gallery business.
But if we asked them for some general advice I have no doubt
they would say: 1. Buy with your heart and use your head. 2. See as
much art as you can - it's ultimately all about looking, re-looking
and then look again. 3. Don't be afraid to contact an art
The contemporary art market including photography (since there
is no real distinction between the two) is very hard to predict.
But an art advisor has the sensibility and experience to
distinguishing between A-list pieces and B-list pieces and it will
always be the A-listers that define an artist or a period in art.
And then remember that good art is always a personal
investment - also in the future.
Julie Quottrup Silbermann
Gallery manager at Martin Asbæk Gallery