I have photographed more than 135 artists, in locations stretching the globe including Copenhagen, Stavanger, London, Miami, Newcastle, Paris, Berlin, Athens, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Sydney and Melbourne. Surface is an interpretation of the genre as well as the personalities behind the art itself. It is my ambition to present an overview of the contemporary scene, whilst also shedding light on the pioneering figures who paved the way. Surface isn't meant as documentation of street art... I photograph the artists in a visual interplay with their work, which consequently facilities the ethos of the artworks themselves. - Søren Solkær, 2014
SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS is pleased to present SURFACE, an exhibition featuring portraits of street artists taken by Danish photographer Søren Solkær. The images are part of a larger book project that began in 2012 and continued into 2015. For three years, Solkær traveled internationally, photographing street artists in their element and showcasing them alongside their art in public spaces. The project culminated in a publication that ultimately serves as a portrait anthology of many significant street artists in the contemporary art scene, as well as the genre’s pioneering icons.
Throughout this endeavor, Sølkaer retained his signature photographic style by drawing influence from cinema and painting in order to tell a story through each image. He often incorporated artificial lighting on location, sometimes using masks or props to obscure the artist’s identity. The result is an atmosphere of hyperrealism where presence is informed through urban landscape, artwork as backdrop, and the depiction of each individual in natural, often poetic, states.
I felt that this was the perfect time to portray the people behind one of the most powerful and prevalent art movements of our time. This took me on an incredible journey to rooftops, back alleys, train stations, studios and walls across the world. – Søren Solkær, 2013
For the exhibition at SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS, the concept of portraiture goes a step further. We reached out to 14 of these photographed street artists and asked them to reinterpret the portrait Solkær took of them in order to create a unique, collaborative artwork, adding their own signature style and aesthetic to the original photograph. In this way, the portrait is reconfigured into a self-portrait, addressing the idea of artwork as an extension of the artist and highlighting alternative visual avenues for capturing and communicating identity.
A selection of Solkær’s photographs will be on view alongside 14 unique collaborations by the following renowned artists: Aakash Nihalani, Above, Beau Stanton, Cyrcle, DabsMyla, Dan Witz, Jordan Seiler, Lee Quinones, Logan Hicks, Mark Bode, Rae, Risk, Saber, and Wolfbat. As a celebration of the international scope of the project, variations of SURFACE will be on display in 2015 at international venues including: Art Equity, Sydney Australia; NKN Gallery, Melbourne, Australia; Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles, Calif.; Allouche Gallery, NY; Øksnehallen with V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver.
The opening reception at SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS will take place on Saturday, April 25th from 8 to 11 pm, coinciding with the U.S. launch of the publication. Solkær and a selection of exhibited artists will be in attendance and signed copies of SURFACE will be available for purchase. The exhibit will be on view through Saturday, May 23. Solkær’s photographs will also be available for viewing in the NYC subways through the NO AD mobile app. Free to Download, NO AD uses Augmented Reality technology to turn subway platform advertising into a digital exhibition space, creating new opportunities for viewers to engage artwork in their daily lives. To learn more visit noad-app.com.
Søren Solkær is a Danish photographer (b. 1969). He is best known for his portraits of musicians and is often recognized for developing iconic images of Björk, The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, David Lynch, The Arctic Monkeys, R.E.M. and U2. Solkær ‘s photographic style is characterized in the tension he creates between intimacy and edginess. Various inspirations for his stylistic approach include: filmmakers David Lynch and Wong Kar-Wai, photographer Philip-Lorca di Corcia, painter Caspar David Friedrich. Solkær ‘s works have been exhibited in New York, Oxford, Copenhagen, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Edinburgh, Chicago, Milano, Napoli, Bratislava, Reykjavik, Cologne and Prague and are part of the permanent collection in The Royal Danish Library and The National Portrait Collection in Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark.