nicolai howalt
The continuing topicality of hunting is the theme of the artist duo Trine Søndergaard & Nicolai Howalt's latest art project How to Hunt. Together they have participated in a range of hunts and depict the con- temporary hunt and its rituals photographically. The images of nature register the world of hunting and the interplay of humans, nature and animals. The series thus balances between fascinated studies of the phenomenon of hunting on the one hand, and a series of beautiful landscapes heralding back to Romanti- cism on the other.

The hunters, fully equipped with all the hobby's paraphernalia of horns, uniforms, ri¥es, etc, are relatively small ¥gures in the landscape. The horizon is low so the sky often ¥lls more than half of the images. Søndergaard & Howalt do not depict dramatic scenes. We are in an unmistakably Danish landscape of picturesque yet impressive nature. The light of these autumn scenes, where the clouds unveil countless shades and tints, are particularly overwhelming. Nature thus forms the perfect backdrop and through the images one reaches an understanding of the hunter's fascination with this particular aspect of the hunting experience.

Søndergaard & Howalt's images conjure up the concentration and passion of hunters stalking their prey. One is drawn in and carried away, following the hunter's keen gaze to see if he hits the bird. The descent of the bird after the shot is beautiful. No pity here. Maybe it would be a different matter with deer, whose big brown eyes make it dif¥cult not to be on their side.

A series of the photographs consists of multiple exposures digitally interwoven to show an entire hunt in a single image. One photograph - one collated story. It is not immediately apparent that the photographs consist of several images, but in several of the works a crowd of hunters stand at the edge aiming, for ex- ample, simultaneously at a large number of birds in the sky. An unlikely situation, even on the most staged hunts. These images do not re¥ect an actual situation. But they make a visual impact.

Søndergaard & Howalt have manipulated the image on the basis of visual and conceptual considerations that go beyond an authentic depiction of the hunt to capture the entire universe surrounding it. The photo- graphs are thus composed as tableaux consisting of several 'realist' elements. The images thus disrupt the traditional realism of photography to become more than merely what is seen: they are the product of the artists' ideas about and re¥ections on contemporary hunting.

Anna Krogh, curator, BRANDTS