Denise Grünstein, ‘Casting’, November 9–December 21, 2018
Denise Grünstein is a pioneer of Swedish photography and one of the most esteemed photographers of her generation. In her new series of works, which is being shown for the first time ever at CFHILL, she remains true to her main areas of interest: the drama of life, memory, and dream. Psychological fantasies staged in dull colours, with a great deal of care given to the sensuous. ‘Casting’, which constitutes a space formed by objects and films alongside the photographs, will be her first exhibition at CFHILL.
Apart from her great technical skill and severe attention to detail, her photographs are characterised by a liberating lack of respect for all notions of what photography “ought” to be. Her realm is that of the imagination. In her portraits and dramatic tableaux, where there always seems to be something going on below the surface, Denise Grünstein has created a world and an aesthetic entirely her own. For more than three decades, she has been adding to an oeuvre characterised by mythological and psychologically subtle dramatic narration, stretching from the ground-breaking arranged portraits she exhibited at Fotografiska Museet in 1981’s Bländande bilder (“to the many series she’s created with Marta Oldenburg, who has served as her model for 20 years. Over the years, she has consistently returned to a kind of staged, bared-down, dreamy chamber play, in which she uses the still life as a stage upon which a drama is played out.
These new works, which include large-format photographs, smaller pictures, objects, and two films, may actually display an even stronger narrative strain than her earlier works. The protagonist of Casting is an omnipotent character, a hybrid table/woman who is draped in a form-fitting wide dress that connects the table to her body.