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Currently on display at Arendal Kunstforening

11. November - 4. December, 2022

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On Liminality                 

"Photographs are post stamps of the shadows of the land. These are theses, photographic phantoms, dissertation of discretion. The lonely wandering jew wrote; aesthetics and ethics are one, echoing the prose of his Gallic soul kin, his sea and sun as one. It is a pathetic proposition. Indeed ethics envelope aesthetics, like aesthetics swallows ethics, swallows it raw, without chewing, sucks the blood out of the flesh, digests its bones, while ethics withers aesthetics, tears it apart, ruins the metaphysics.

Photography. It makes one’s tongue turn when spoken. It makes your fingers twirl when you write it. Poetry, pottery, forgery, photography. The whole point with photography is to stay quiet, to stay silent, to stay dull, which means to say nothing. A witness with a machine. Nothing more. The image speaks the world, through the shadow translation, grinding the world down into the unspoken square, rectangle, landscaped or portrayed, all images are the same. No images are similar.

One hopes, almost pray, for emancipation, through photography. Maybe every image is a prayer. Death on the neck. He had death on a neck and became immortal through it, through flash, through silver on gelatin. These images are not a way to see the world, but a prospect of an attitude towards it. But how can you photograph darkness? You don’t. So these are non photographs. Nongraphs. Not paintings made out of light, but the negation of light itself. Light is not the consideration. Graphs without dash. Notions without conclusions. Proposals without repercussions.


Images consists of points, pixels or grain, small speckles when summarized makes something, or nothing, visible. The greatest images are the ones which makes no points at all, the pointless photographs, the images of tired trees, of la famiglia, exteriors of burned out apartments, hairy bellies, naked submitted bodies with immensely long hair, excavators tearing down buildings to generate gentrification in the suburbs, shoes moving along attached to humans, snow speckles focused into transparency overwhelming the scenery, tattoos of candles on the side of the neck barely visible, or a fence with a hole in it, a square hole, space ape attempting escape, a long pipe-like rubber thing twirled upon itself into something reminiscent of modernism, some square quite flat bricks placed on top of each other, a snorkeler snorkeling the sea, liquid metallic sea, wounded mountainsides, an ocean of red, Sugimoto with deuteranomaly, the greatest images are these, because why wouldn’t they be? These are purity pluralized, through aesthetic and thus ethic autonomy, these theses transcends.


Someone once threw a glossy and colorful photograph on the desk an asked me; what do you think? I told him his photograph didn’t make me think at all, which might be a good thing. It might be a great thing. I told him to xerox it, to test its qualities, to test if its abilities as photograph went beyond enchantment. So he did once, and the photograph still mattered, though had changed profoundly into something more profound. I told him to xerox the xerox to see if it still had life within it. So he did. I told him to repeat the act until the image was gone and then look at the one before it disappeared completely. If it still had abilities it was probably genius. He exhibited the xerox of the completely faded image. He never showed me the second to last copy. He had missed the point completely.

The line between nuance and nihilism is razor thin. There are no genius images. Only genius events, gorgeous flesh, interesting prospects, so we keep on hunting shadows in the realm of hungry ghosts. The image simply a post stamp of a shadow within a dream, a simulacra of speckles, a metaphor of a mentality, without mission. Because we are not missionaries.

When you stare long enough into the abyss nothing stares back at you. The abyss is eyeless. There is no nothingness in this universe. The points which generates the significance of a photograph is triviality. The deep notion, so shallowly proclaimed, that if you claim the image wrecked, you claim the world itself worthless. These are the rites we envelop our aesthetics within. All fragments matter equally, and nothing else matters. Through this notion to finally see death not as an endpoint, but as transformation. A rite of passage. These enchanted images thus enhanced with the vista vita of coming clans upon the lands."

- Kristian Skylstad

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