Gallery Taik Persons is highly pleased to present Niko Luoma’s solo exhibition in Berlin, Niko Luoma is concerned, ultimately, not with "what is in front of the camera”, but "what is inside of it”.
Focusing on the process as content, his works, based on a calculated, analogue technique of exposing a single negative to lines of light up to hundreds and even thousands of times, delve into the intrinsic qualities of the photographic medium itself. In their composite structure as multi- linear progressive expansions within space, Luoma’s "abstract photographs of time” can be likened to the experience of listening to a musical piece.
As explored through his recent series Motives (2012) and rnSymmetrium (2012), among his intricate systems of premeditated shapes rnand sequenced numbers, the moment of exposure continues to present the rnkey, for an unpredictable factor of surprise. Luoma’s newest series Variations on a Standard of Space (2013), rnconceived as the first part of a trilogy titled Solids, responds to Paulrn Cézanne’s notion that "All depiction of nature can be reduced to threern solids: Cube, Sphere and Cone.” The number of thousands narrowed down rnhere to only twelve exposures on a single negative, each of this cycle’srn six works construe and visualize, in their own way, the idea of the rncube as a three-dimensional field. Relying on a system of randomized rnpermutation, the series deploys as its parameters a combination of the rntwelve lines by which the cubic form is structured, as well as the threern additive primary colors, red, green, and blue. As a result, and in rnreference again to the musical analogy, it is through the elements of rnimprovisation, interpretation, and chance, that variations on a common rntheme are generated. Underlying their estimation of the cube—as an rn"ideal standard of space”—is the fundamental question of visual rnrepresentation on how spatial depth may be simulated upon a rntwo-dimensional surface; essentially, an unresolvable one that is bound rnto collapse into itself.rn
His new work One Minute in Grand Central Terminal (2013) also on rndisplay at the exhibition, is likewise grounded in Luoma’s interest in rnformulating different ways to document, break down, and reconfigure rnpassages of time through an introspective approach to the photographic rnmedium. For this work, which is "about abstracting one random minute in rnone random place”, Luoma took fourteen snapshots of people passing rnthrough the main hall of New York’s Grand Central Terminal during the rncourse of one minute. He then recreated each photograph in the studio byrn replacing the human figures with lines or blocks of light, which were rnphotographed onto slide film and then printed, therein taking on the rnform of black marks. Produced on the occasion of the centennial rnanniversary of the station, as well as John Cage’s 101st birthday rnanniversary this year, the work presents, as Luoma describes, "a study rnof the folding and unfolding of space”. The incidental nature of its rnfourteen snapshots, isolated movements of passage is what constitutes rnand yet also fragments the temporal sequence of linear narrative that rnadheres to the system of the minute.rn
Further shown are the two drawings To See 1 and To See 2 (both 2012),rn which can be considered as preparatory sketches for his new work rnseries, and concerning which Luoma says that he "wanted completely to rnabandon the responsibility of composition”. This is the first time that rnLuoma shows these kinds of sketches alongside the works that are based rnon them. They each consist of a set of bundled lines that navigate rncontinuously, according to a randomized scheme, across the paper plane rninto different directions until there is no unfilled space left on the rnpaper. Intersecting and overlaying each other, the illusion of spatial rndepth is complete. The drawings’ seemingly shattered time structure rnresonates with those to be found in the other exhibits, as does their rninherent condition of tension between components of rule and repetition,rn chance and transformation.rn
- Shao-lan Hertelrn
[Unless otherwise stated, all text quotes are citations of the artist.]rn