3 feb 2012

Mette Tronvoll

Tronvoll's images of contemporary Mongolians show us people in their traditional circumstances. Photographed in their native landscape against a wide, unobstructed horizon they face the camera directly. Thus preserved in their untouched natural surroundings, the figures become idealized images of remoteness, far from our urban centres and our grasp of time. Details of clothing and surroundings attest to the foreignness of the lifestyle portrayed. But upon closer observation we find traces of our own global consumer culture: a mass-produced pullover, Nike sneakers. One almost yearns to be caught up in the old clichés, the ideal notions of purity and primordiality that early-twentieth-century modern thinkers posited upon so-called aboriginal people. But the reality recorded here disrupts that dream.

Temporality stands out as a crucial dimension of Tronvoll's work, and our perception of time lies at the very heart of the way we perceive photography. The photograph articulates an experience of our existence in time and space, and as a medium it is closely related to change, to our identity and to our concept of history. The ambivalence of the portrait photograph lies first and foremost in the way we experience ourselves as temporal individuals in a process of constant movement and change, whereas the portrait shows a fixed expression of such a self.
Serie de fotografías tomada en aguas termales naturales.

La fotógrafa Mette Tronvoll entre dos de sus obras.
Mette Tronvoll was born 1965 in Trondheim. She is educated at Parsons School of Design in New York. Since 1999 she lives and works in Berlin.

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