In The Moment/Any Way You Look At It: Peter Funch’s Fractured Narratives

In his photography, Danish artist Peter Funch has consistently explored ways to disrupt linear approaches to the concept of time. In his series “Babel Tales,” that meant building cinematic images in Photoshop to create coincidences, what Henri Cartier-Bresson called the “Decisive Moment.” As such, the works became what Funch calls “documents that aren’t necessarily true”—images that inhabit the space between truth and fiction.  

In his latest show, “Last Flight - An American Anthology” at Copenhagen’s V1 Gallery, Funch focuses on a single incident, while exploring its ripples throughout a small town and throughout time. Utilizing his background as a photojournalist, Funch documented the happenings in the small Mississippi River town of Atchison, Kansas, surrounding the 2013 demolition of the Amelia Earhart Bridge—named after the town’s most famous resident and completed in 1939, the same year she was declared dead in absentia.

To tell the interwoven tales of Earhart, the destruction of the bridge, and a changing American town, the artist utilizes the photographer’s full arsenal of techniques, from intimate snapshots and sober photojournalism to vivid and stylized images—including some that were shot with drones. Whether a candid shot of the aftermath of a beer-soaked party or a so-close-it’s-abstracted shot of the bridge falling into the river—itself an echo of Earhart’s famous wreckage—the exhibition uses multiple viewpoints to tell the story of a single incident, finding delight in the visual echoes of such details as stars and spiderwebs.   

Funch has said the moment he went from being a photojournalist to being an artist was when he began to explore the third dimension through installation. At V1, the project’s conceptual core is mirrored in its display, where temporary wooden walls have been erected throughout the gallery, presenting the work in a manner as fragmented as the story it tells.

Last Flight - An American Anthology. A Solo Exhibition by Peter Funch” is on view at V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, June 5–27, 2014.  

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