Photobook Review>> Wrong: Asger Carlson

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Wrong, 2010 © Asger Carlsen

Just as we begin to settle back into our comfy zones of photographic veracity, Asger Carlsen’s Wrong reminds us that photography is created and imagined, that the image doesn’t always have to seem indexical. At an age when digital manipulation strives to conceal truth while bearing the marks of reality Carlsen’s manipulations are flawlessly employed whilst rejecting the reliability of the real. All at once his images fasten to reality and blow it out of proportion.

As Geoffrey Batchen has stated: “The boundary between photography and other media like painting, sculpture, or performance has become increasingly porous. It would seem that each medium has absorbed the other, leaving the photographic residing everywhere, but nowhere in particular.”[1] These are the boundaries that Carlsen has leapt and embraced. The images always refer back to their construction and Carlsen willingly participates in reducing our faith in photography. Employing sculpture, performance and some ‘digital’ painting a simulated reality is born. But this simulation often leaves us tense and curious for explanation. The more we look the more we find ourselves creating our own dialog and partaking in this alternate world. Carlsen’s “gambit reminds us that photography’s other is not ‘reality’ at all, but a matrix of representational structures, already existing and only dreamt of, which photography appropriates, compresses, displaces, and occludes.”[2]

With over 40 black and white images, a sizable measure for a complete body of work, it contains mostly candid moments of both portraits and landscapes, plus a great introduction from Tim Barber. This has proven to be a most engaging book that I cannot stop appreciating.

[1] Geoffrey Batchen, “Post-Photography,” in Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography and History (Boston: MIT Press, 2001), 109.
[2] Jeannene M. Przyblyski, “Moving Pictures: Photography, Narrative, and the Paris Commune of 1871,” in Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life, eds. Leo Charney and Vanessa R. Schwartz (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 274.

Wrong
Edition 1000
88 pages
22cm x 22cm
ISBN 978-1-907071-22-5
£20.00 (purchase can be made here or morelbooks.com)

2 Responses to “Photobook Review>> Wrong: Asger Carlson”

  1. I saw the exhibition of this in Copenhagen. Somebody had written a really funny/rubbish blurb about how ‘Carlson’s relationship with his vile creations’ (or something like that) reminded them of ‘Dr. Frankenstien’s doting relationship with his monster’… eh… what doting relationship? The kind where you kill everyone they know and love? Or the kind where you abandon them at birth? Bit embarassing but the work was still really good.

  2. Rabbott says:

    Caleb this is a great review! Keep it up and thanks. Btw could you describe Carlson’s work as maybe hallucinogenic? They definitely remind me of some kind of drug induced experience.

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