From the eyes, he made window panes
This fine art project fuses the characteristics of the photographic image as a stage with experimental costume design by my wife, costume designer Berit Haltvik With, who was awarded the county artist scholarship of Sør-Trøndelag in 2017.
"From the eyes, he made window panes" are twelve photographic profile portraits in a style inspired by the renaissance in their posing and styling, with a more dramatic lighting designed to accentuate the materials used in the costumes. The costumes are designed from surprising, non-textile materials, posing questions of use and re-use, our relationship with the world we live in and not the least the practice of costume making. Being created for the very particular stage of the camera in a studio, they are very much an exploration at the edge of what's possible to use as clothes, and the potential for storytelling that the characteristics of such a stage lend to the visual language.
The exhibition has been set up, initially as part of the county artist programme and later in three major museums in the area, as an exploration of how our where and when determines much of our perception. We have invited the visitor to alternate between the flat surface, with its predetermined perspective, and objects where the visitor's body directs more of the experience of the work.
The principal guideline for creating the costume fragments has been that they, too, have a "correct" point of view. They are literally parts of a picture, created for the camera's eye. This allows a certain efficiency, and also the possibility to utilize materials that are too tender for normal stage use.
Some of the organic costumes are perishables. On the picture, the kelp still appears fresh and green, while the object as such has dried up and changed colour, size and character – even if the object as such is the same as was photographed.
We also believe that the project is a comment towards how we deal with history: Where do we stand, and what do we perceive of that which is related to us? How does the story change through time?
The materials used in the costume fragments also touch on ethical matters concerning economics, consumption and environment. What do we use, and what is consumed when we create something new?
Exhibit at Kystens Arv
Museet Kystens Arv is a coastal heritage museum on the Norwegian west coast. At the mezzanine, the museum runs different art exhibitions. The exhibit "From the eyes, he made window panes" was on display the summer of 2019.
In this video the costume designer and I ponder how the costumes surface through the work of the hand, and how the images meet the spectator.
In Norwegian with English subtitles (see the CC button lower right).