Golden skies, decrepit rooms

Inspired by... John Divola

In Inspired by... a talented young photographer (or, in this case, a duo) highlights an image that has inspired them throughout their career. This week, artist duo Inka and Niclas introduces us to the amazing work of John Divola, whose relaxed attitude helped them ease into their own more exerimental work. 

From the Zuma series, 1977 © John Divola 

We have always been looking a lot at photographs and other photographer’s work. We love photography, but that also means that mostly we're in this kind of intense relationship with the medium. There are so many photographs out there, sometimes it feels like there's no need to make another one. But once in a while we bump into something that gives us energy all over again.

The photographs we have here are from John Divola’s famous Zuma series. They are so jam-packed with information that they get incomprehensible. The spray paint markings pop out of the frame. Then the colors.

From the Zuma series, 1977 © John Divola 

Divola has managed to get two of photography’s favorite romantic motifs into one scene: the ocean sunset and the worn-down building (cameras seem to love rust and old deteriorated things). The ending day, the golden sky and the room that's falling apart in combination with the book suspended in midair makes time very present. Those elements would normally point towards feelings of a fleeting moment or nostalgia. Instead the photographs have an almost electric energy.  

From the Zuma series, 1977 © John Divola 

What spoke to us back in 2008 when we bought the book Three Acts was Divola’s method, the markings and his attitude towards photography in general. We had begun experimenting with different interventions in our photographs, but hadn't shown it much since those works were much harder for us to place, motivate and talk about than our more straightforwardly documentary series. In an interview in the book, Divola has a very relaxed attitude towards his actions and that really helped us to move forward.

The work is still insanely good and the book still gets taken off the bookshelf once in a while.

About Inka and Niclas

Inka (b. 1985, Finland) and Niclas (b. 1984, Sweden) Lindergård is an awarded artist duo that works primarily with photography-based art. They have been working together since 2007 and are based in Stockholm.

With starting points in popular culture, their work circulates around investigations on the photograph as a carrier of a mysterious image of nature. Their imagery spans from the search engines and their algorithmic answers on what nature looks like, to an aesthetic appropriated from nature religions, occultism and spiritual postcards.

Their second book ‘The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth’ (2016, Kerber Verlag), revolves around performative photographic acts that can only be experienced through the photograph, an investigation into the of the act of taking a photograph and the camera's role as a bridge between the physical world and the photographic. Their first book ‘Watching Humans Watching’ (2012, Kehrer Verlag) won the Swedish Photobook Prize 2012 and was nominated for the German Photobook Prize in 2013.

They exhibit and are published internationally on a regular basis. Their work is included in private collections in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico as well as in the permanent collection and exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art (Sweden), Fries Museum (The Netherlands) and the Public Art Agency (Sweden). They are represented by Grundemark Nilsson Gallery in Berlin and Stockholm.

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