A View from the Side / Lars Tunbjörk
Sep 14 – Dec 2, 2018

Lars Tunbjörk

Fotografiska is proud to announce that this autumn we’ll be hosting the major retrospective A View from the Side, showcasing the work of one of Sweden’s most internationally successful photographers, Lars Tunbjörk (1956 – 2015). Collated and curated by his wife and filmmaker in her own right, Maud Nycander, with curator and photographer Hasse Persson, the exhibition gathers a wide selection of Tunbjörk’s entire body of work. His influence is exemplified by an expression common in Swedish photography circles, a Tunbjörkare, meaning an image with special qualities. A world-renowned photographer who repeatedly returned to his roots in Borås.

 

Lars Tunbjörk

With a special eye for that which isn’t normally noticed, that which lurks beneath the surface for which words are not enough and that which elicits the emotions of recognition, be that shivers, goosebumps or tears of joy, Lars Tunbjörk’s eye framed that which he wanted others to notice as well, but always posed the question, “Is it really supposed to be like this?”

With equal parts humor, warmth and darkness, and perhaps a pinch of exasperation, he captured scenes which cause the viewer to pause, think and in some strange way even feel a sense of recognition. And this regardless of whether he was using his special palette of vivid colors and harsh flash photography to capture big-box stores in small American provincial towns, Japanese office landscapes or the decline of the welfare state in his place of birth, Borås.

 

Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk

“Lars had begun planning a retrospective, both a book and an exhibition, before he died. Fulfilling this, his vision, felt very important to me and others around him. I collated Lars Tunbjörk, A View from the Side, together with Hasse Person, who has also curated Lars’ previous exhibitions and followed his work closely, and we’ve gathered works from a treasure trove of images numbering over half a million exposures. The images feel extremely contemporary even now, at a time when so many cornerstones of the welfare state are being brought into question. Lars captured an early phase of a phenomenon that is gathering momentum.” – Maud Nycander

Following his sudden passing in 2015, the Lars Tunbjörk Foundation was established to preserve this passionate photographer’s entire body of work. Efforts are under way to catalogue and digitize Tunbjörk’s photo archive to make it accessible and to enable research. This collection includes works from the series Landet utom sig, Office, I Love Borås, Home, Dom alla and Vinter. And they are images from these series which form the backbone of this major retrospective.

 

Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk

“Lars became the one who documented a transition encompassing spiraling commercialism, the abandonment of traditional meeting places, uglification and the plastic society, a crumbling welfare state. He highlighted this phenomenon before anyone else and was mature enough to undertake it, and in many respects the recognition felt by the viewer sees no borders,” say Nycander and Persson.

This documentation and observation of the now meant that Lars Tunbjörk suddenly found himself an internationally acclaimed photographer. Parallel to this, he worked on his own projects, which culminated in ten books of his photography, multiple exhibitions and his work being represented in the collections of MoMA, Centre Pompidou and Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

His eye for the absurd and the universal quite simply connects with the viewer regardless of which continent they happen to inhabit. Intuitive photography that strikes a chord in the collective unconscious; photography where he carefully selected a location and then waited for something to happen.

 

Lars Tunbjörk

Interpreting the starting point as a bold challenge to the status quo is really a given, even if Tunbjörk himself never wanted to define or label what he saw. Just as he was rarely, if ever, satisfied, continually striving to move forward with extremely high expectations for himself.

His series Vinter, a documentary depiction of Sweden, is just as much about himself, a truly personal portrait. He spent a long time choosing images, sometimes after consulting others, but always with tremendous integrity, always having the last say, and was constantly moving forward, Nycander and Persson reveal.

Following the sudden passing of Tunbjörk in 2015, TIME’s Deputy Director of Photography Paul Moakley aptly wrote in his obituary: “Lars made you feel like you weren’t alone and that someone else understood the great abyss that stands before us”.

 

A View from the Side / Lars Tunbjörk
September 14 – December 2, 2018 / Fotografiska
Please visit the exhibition page >

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