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Annika Von Hausswolff, I Am The Runway of Your Thoughts

Casey Kaplan Gallery
525 West 21st Street, 212-645-7335
October 10 - November 11, 2008
Reception: Friday, October 10, 6 - 8 PM
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Casey Kaplan is pleased to present an exhibition of new photographs and three-dimensional objects by one of Sweden’s most distinguished artists, Annika von Hausswolff. “I am the Runway of Your Thoughts” is von Hausswolff’s third solo exhibition in the gallery and her first in the United States since the gallery’s last exhibition in 2002.

Since the early 1990’s, Annika von Hausswolff has been selectively creating powerful images that defy singular interpretation. Carefully staged, her photographs present a distinct visual rhetoric that is documentary in style, surreal in essence, and rife with reoccurring motifs and personal references.

“I am the Runway of Your Thoughts,” dually titles the exhibition and a series of twenty-five photographs on view in the gallery space. Fluctuating between black and white and full-color, different focal points and angles, the prints depict a woman flying a model airplane into her open mouth. This recognizable phallic gesture confronts the viewer; a familiar image that is questioned by the active participation of the female subject. Are these images sinister and violent, or innocent and harmless? The examination of images of women and the duality of sexuality and violence are two underlying themes present throughout von Hausswolff’s work, beginning with her “Back to Nature” series, 1993. We are also reminded of the Surrealist or Dada-like collages she produced from 1999-2001, all depicting images of planes, and ”Untitled (with Bubble)” series, 1995, where von Hausswolff, as the subject, describes, “the photos are also about the creative act itself.”

Self-portraits are interspersed throughout von Hausswolff’s oeuvre. In this exhibition, “I Remember the Future of My Past With Great Expectations”, 2008, shows the artist illuminated in cool white light, facing the picture plane, holding a frosted glass panel in front of her body. Pressed slightly against it, only the tip of her head, fingers, and feet are in clear view. A straightforward image and a simple gesture, a translucent barrier resides between the viewer and the artist rendering the image dream-like and similar in affect to that of the balloons in “Attempting to Deal with Time and Space,” 1997, and the bubbles of gum. The portrait is also formally reminiscent of “To Carry One’s Door Through the Room,” 2003, and analogous to “Selfportrait in the Studio with Flashlight and Pulled Down Pants”, 2002.

Von Hausswolff also develops her imagery through use of props and objects, found in everyday milieu, as metaphors for her subjects. Three large images show aerial views of various open boxes sitting edge to edge in different configurations. Revealing their naked emptiness, the boxes exude the same melancholic unaffectedness that personifies her characters. Von Hausswolff displays physical manifestations of her objects in the sculptural works, “Esoteric Forensic,” 2008. Reminiscent of Minimalist objects, the wall-mounted window boxes are evocative expressions of the imagery in the photographs, “Now you see it, Now you don’t,” 1999, and “The Memory of My Mother’s Underwear Transformed Into a Flameproof Drape”, 2003. It is the first time that she has ever shown three-dimensional works of art in the United States.

By inventing complex meanings, provoking conflicting emotions, and creating physical boundaries, von Hausswolff’s images challenge the viewer’s interpretation and tap our curiosity. Drawing on her past, the artist continues to evolve her subject matters, leaving behind artworks that transcend time.
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