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Olof nimar

first the stupid and then the impossible

The Last Rose

2024

archival inkjet print, artist made frame, anti-reflective glass, each image 63x83cm

1965

2024

Diasec, each image 40x30cm

first the stupid and then the impossible

2024

Offset print, 70x50cm
Onimar 12
Onimar 1
Densistarosen2018 Detail
Densistarosen2018
Densistarosen2019
Onimar 8
Onimar 10
Onimar 11
Onimar 3
Onimar 5
Onimar 14
Onimar 17
Onimar 18
Onimar 6a
Onimar 17
Onimar 7a

darkness, light, darkness and then light again 

On the slide, out of the photograph and at the same time in its center, that is how Olof Nimars photographed teacups are being presented. 

The porcelain cup merges with the background and the decor is isolated as a motif. The white balance burns out a shape; a structure and indeed a function (tea drinking) out of the picture. At the same time, another form is evoked, the monochrome flowers that follow the body of the cup. 

The subject of the porcelain painter is also the subject of Nimar's work but they are not the same, they are set in motion from the object, through the lens, out into the room. The floral decoration appears to be changed and inserted into a sculptural structure. The construction is, in the typical Nimar way, rectilineal. While at the same time it is curved around the floral decoration as a motif, it curves like time curves in the room around a heavy object. In the cut between the infinite void of the image space and the sloping plane of the image surface, the painting is freed from its conditioning base and becomes an object set in motion, the cup is subjugated and becomes a surface. 

With an incision, the subject is separated from one spatial reality and brought into another; like a bouquet of flowers, or a lonely rose in a vase. Nimar has previously in several exhibitions and series of works built physical structures around his photographs; they can be constructions that together create another room within the room (Adjacent Hour and Lily) but also site-specific devices that insert the works into the dimensions of the exhibition room (Wet Hair ) or - closer to the picture - the frames that Nimar himself builds from scratch around his pictures, from carefully selected types of wood and with a present skill in the craft. 

The image is not inserted into the frame, instead the frame is built around the image in the same way as the sculptural structures that sometimes hold them. (In the series For Your Eyes Only the meaning of the frame becomes particularly clear, the images show parts of the windows from the artist's studio collective that have been painted over with graffiti, the frames share, unlike the images, the size and proportions of the window.) 

The room is formulated around the image and the placement changes the site (over time); the exhibition room. This is more than creating image surfaces in sculptural structures; if also that, or to give the image a presence in space, it is to give the spatial structure a fourth dimension of time through the lens. 

Monet and his fellow painters were by the camera and its technologically lightning-like snapshots of time, painterly freedom appeared in a new light, the freedom to construct the subject became clear. To cultivate a garden like a magnificent still life like Monet, or like Manet to borrow the camera's ability to cut a sharp section out of time in an image impossible for the photographer, Un bar aux Folies Bergère, for example. 

Nimar's poster, with the same title as the exhibition, features a quote from the painter Camille Corot – whom Monet called the only master. The quote that could be a statement for the painting; to include everything in a vast field of possibilities except the stupid and the impossible—first the stupid and then the impossible. 

 

In contrast, perhaps photography's main advantage is perhaps its stupidity, that the machine does not think... but, beyond the stupid, beyond the tired metaphors that photography has come to submit to, there is an impossible photograph; not a frozen moment, not a testimony, not a window not an etc etc... A photograph where time cuts through the surface of the image into the room. 

When water freezes, ice crystals form, the water molecules that in their liquid state have a v- shaped structure are linked together in hexagons, a structure that requires more space. In a living cell, the growing ice crystals can cut the cell's protoplasm like a knife. In cold climates many 

plants wilt as the days get shorter and the temperature drops, as protection against frost the plant's water content reduces. This is the case with most roses. 

A remontant rose sets new flowers again and again during the season and as long as they grow, instead of all the flowers breaking out together and together withering to become rose hips, the bloom returns again, and again. 

To relive something distant yet familiar in a photograph; seeing one's childhood home or one's old grandmother can feel like a journey through time and space. That the photographed is in another time, in another place, regardless of whether it is familiar or not, belongs to photography's basic conditions - to its materiality. The pre-understanding of this is its most important immaterial quality, the photographed is elsewhere, (but!) the photograph is here. 

The frozen roses photographed by Nimar in the series "The Last Rose" bring this into sharp focus. The pictures are taken on the very last day of the year, or to be precise on the last days of their respective years, moments that are unique, irreplaceable even, but at the same time strangely recurring. The photographed life has ceased, nature morte, still life, still life... still living... 

With a cut, the subject is separated from one time and brought into another, the exposure of the film or image sensor in the camera takes a fraction of a second, the photograph can be understood as a thin slice of linear time, what has passed through the shutter and been captured. To separate a rose from the bush with a cut - from leaves, branches, roots, soil... takes a fraction of a second, the knife edge cuts through the very cell membranes and exposes a new surface. 

The cut flower leaves the organic context of the plant and becomes an object, still alive and still destined to die. However, the cut surface carries another potential, to be grafted into a new structure or as a cutting to be the growth point for new roots. A photograph that cuts through the image surface, instead of a picture, a sculpture of crystallised time. 

Nils Svensk, curator 

Works Index