“What leads me,” he continued, “is my curiosity to take on forms and motifs that I’m drawn to but cannot fully understand.” Although they may hold as twisted metaphors or sardonic allegories, readings can be slippery. In Drunken Man (2014–15), we find a balding, bare-breasted man from the belly up, red wine trickling through his rug of chest hair, as he is flanked by a pair of women who help him find his feet. In Stockings, Jeans and Carpeted Stairs (2013–17), the bulging, vein-popping arm which gently cradles a delicately-poised, young foot inches towards something more sinister. Or does it?
For all their curious perversity, Rødland’s microcosms are not entirely unfamiliar. We have felt them all before; crooked silverware, yanked-out hair tufts, the latex-gloved finger poking into our gums—albeit never quite like this. Through Rødland’s eye for both a matter-of-fact aesthetic and abnormally tight crop, his photographs occupy an eerie world—at once hyperreal and surreal—as if dispatches from an impossibly lucid dream, or nightmare. Referring to the “uncanny,” psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan once said that when we encounter the strangely familiar, we become emotionally estranged and jarred. The hands, which so often creep into Rødland’s frames, do just this. Where have they come from? What do they want?