OSL contemporary is proud to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Bjarne Bare, titled ‘Breathing, Together’. The show is comprised of twelve large scale colour photographs from the artist’s ongoing body of work, produced between 2017 and 2019. Bare’s work displays a thorough commitment to the photographic medium, drawing inspiration from traditional photography informed by a conceptual understanding of pictures and their broad potential as carriers of meaning.
Falling into the image
'I don’t pretend to know what is good or bad. I am not hopeful, but neither am I hopeless.' This is not the beginning of a tweet by Greta Thunberg, but the philosopher Franco 'Bifo' Berardi writing on phenomenology, and his attempt to develop a theory about the crucial change that digital connectivity has provoked to our senses. Technological advancements have eroded our empathy. A pre-internet state was marked by a more empathic interpretation of signs. In linguistics, conjunctions opened a freer associative mode closer to feeling. We should return to more primary experiences, where our body and our perception have the ability to create unexpected connections. In syntactical terms, the closer occurrence would be through the use of conjunctions, 'and and and'.
Many philosophers have described groundlessness as a prevailing condition of our times. It is a standstill, where we do not know, due to the velocity of the world, if we are cruising or falling—we no longer know if we are subject or object. Time is out of joint. We have become ageless, or possibly, we have aged too fast. This may be the reason why the words of a mature philosopher come diachronically closer to the one of a steaming teenager, both whose lives are equally on the line because their idea of the future has been deflected.
They (or worse: let’s read 'we') face the same nostalgia for a time standing still. We are nostalgic for the present, as the title in one of Bjarne Bare’s latest images suggests. We are trapped in a Western standstill. We see friction in society, and we witness the generational resistance in countries such as France, which though seemingly pushes towards a new crisis, lives in some forms of unsurpassable nostalgia. The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. An eternal 'rebuilt' past, based on nostalgia, goes hand in hand with an acceleration, a stasis, of the ever same.
Bjarnes curious and intriguing work Tribology (a term concerning the laws of rubbing and lubrication, as well as governing financial and political fields alike) affirms that standing still doesn’t create friction. The standstill is the tyranny of the photographic lens, that has given way to linear perspectivism with one-single vanishing point. Bare’s pictures though call for a different directionality. His images can be used to discover new forms of navigation and temporal perspectives. Our encounter with the material image, a photograph lodged in paper, can on occasion allow us to return to associative principles. This is an experience of conjunctive concatenation of details; an emotional understanding in contrast to a logical construction of the world; empathy instead of intellect; a nomadic desire instead of an idea of belonging, or coding dogmas.
If there is no center, there is only the pleasure of finding the right association and conjunction, and and and…
- Text by Antonio Cataldo, artistic director, Fotogalleriet
Bjarne Bare (b. Poznan, 1985) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his B.F.A. from the Academy of Fine Art Oslo (2013) and M.F.A. from UCLA, Los Angeles (2017). Bjarne is the co-founder of MELK, an artist run space in Oslo promoting new Scandinavian Photography since 2009. Through his work as an artist, gallery director and publisher, Bjarne Bare maintains a profound interest in the development and current state of the photographic image, as well a theoretical curiosity concerning modes of perception in the reading of the photograph.
His works have been shown in museums such as the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Preus Museum and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum as well as Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Palazzetto Tito, Venice; UCLA Broad Art Center, Los Angeles; Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre, Xiamen; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; and OSL contemporary, Oslo; among others. Bare has published several books, which have been included in libraries and collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The Getty Research Institute; Sächsische Universitätsbibliothek Dresden; University of Bergen and his artworks are found in the collections such as Preus Museum, Kistefos Museum, Wienerberger Contemporary Photography Collection, and The Ekard Collection.