Adam Ekberg

Photo courtesy The Tanne Foundation

Photo courtesy The Tanne Foundation

Over the last decade Adam Ekberg’s photographic work has consisted of a series of investigations into the actions, disruptions, displacements and misuses of commonplace objects in empty spaces and landscapes. These minor performances are created by Ekberg with the sole purpose of capturing an event at its zenith.

Adam received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has recently had solo exhibitions at ClampArt (New York, NY); DeSoto Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Thomas Robertello Gallery (Chicago,IL); Platform Gallery (Seattle ,WA); and Fotografiska (Stockholm, Sweden). His work has been included in recent group exhibitions at venues such as Aran Cravey Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, IL); RayKo Photo Center (San Francisco, CA); and Crawford Art Gallery (Cork, Ireland). His work is in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (IL), and The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), among others. He is the recipient of the Society for Photographic Education’s Imagemaker Award and a Tanne Foundation Award. Ekberg has also received grants from Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation. His first monograph titled The Life of Small Things was published by Waltz Books in November, 2015.

 

THEATRE OF LOST YEARS series

 

UNTITLED 2016, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

BURNING SKULL 2014, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 
 

CLOSED SYSTEM 2014, archival inkjet prints, 6 individual prints that fill a 30 x 40 inch space, edition of 3

 

PAPER AIRPLANE 2014, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

TRANSFERRING A GALLON OF MILK FROM ONE CONTAINER TO ANOTHER 2014, archival
inkjet print, available at 24 x 20 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 30 inches (edition of 3),
50 x 40 inches (edition of 2)

 

GOLDFISH 2013, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3),
40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

CANDLE, SKULL, AND LASER 2014, archival pigment print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3),
30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

EXTINGUISHING A SMALL FIRE 2014, archival pigment print,available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3),
30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

DOMINOES 2014, archival pigment print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

UNTITLED 2015, archival pigment print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

UNTITLED 2016, archival pigment print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

UNTITLED 2015, archival pigment print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

SERIES INFO

At face value these fleeting gestures and actions are about nothing so much, simply an index of unremarkable moments: a paper airplane flying across a blue sky with puffy clouds or a goldfish in a plastic bag of water in the planes of the Midwest. Collectively these images make up a world, just slightly off from our own, in which objects misbehave. The simple becomes strange, as though we are on a planet exactly like our own with an ever-so-slightly different gravitational pull.

Ekberg’s working methodology for the past ten years originates from wanting to photograph the presence of absence. His process begins with a sketch of what he wishes to actualize in the world and he works backwards from theses drawings to make the event occur in the world so that it can be photographed. This willful circuit of creation for his images means that Ekberg is always, from outside of the photographic frame, generating something that will register as a photographic subject within the frame.

These small things become surrogates to a life outside the frame, but they also take on a life of their own within the photographic frame. Arguably these images are easy to deconstruct. The pictures do not put on airs or claim to be anything they are not and in so doing can become whatever the viewer wishes them to be. 

 

FROM THE OUTSKIRTS series

 

ECLIPSE2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 5 available at 20 x 24 inches; 2 remain available at 30 x 40 inches

 

TRIANGLE OF FIRE 2011, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 3 available at 24 x 20 inches;
3 available at 40 x 30 inches; 2 available at 50 x 40 inches

 

MILK STREAM 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 3 available at 24 x 20 inches;
3 available at 40 x 30 inches; 2 available at 50 x 40 inches

 

CANDLES AND CRYSTALS #3 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8:
3 available at 24 x 20 inches; 3 available at 40 x 30 inches; 2 available at 50 x 40 inches

 

UNTITLED 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8 at 20 x 24 inches

 

MILK BLEED 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 3 available at 24 x 20 inches;
3 available at 40 x 30 inches; 2 available at 50 x 40 inches

 

CANDLES AND CRYSTALS #1 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 3 available at 20 x 24 inches;
3 available at 30 x 40 inches; 2 available at 40 x 50 inches

 

AN AEROSOL CONTAINER IN AN ABANDONED ORCHARD 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8:
3 available at 20 x 24 inches; 3 available at 30 x 40 inches; 2 available at 40 x 50 inches

 

OCCURANCE #2 2012, archival inkjet print, edition of 8: 3 available at 20 x 24 inches; 3 available at 30 x 40 inches;
2 available at 40 x 50 inches

SERIES INFO

The photographs in this series continue to record the artist’s gesture in both domestic settings and marginal landscapes. The domestic spaces reflect his interest in everyday life, while the landscapes suggest the importance of areas just outside those inhabited by people. With occasional help from an assistant, the artist plans, stages, and photographs these specific performances, always with the perspective of the camera in mind. Ekberg’s goal is for the photographically recorded gesture to appear in such a way that the viewer feels she is bearing witness to these events or can imagine bearing witness.

The moments Ekberg orchestrates vary in content from an eclipse of a pineapple to an inexplicable splash in an empty kitchen, from candle-lit distortions to an image of an aerosol container burning in an empty field. Regardless of location, these actions and their photographic representation cohere as interruptions in otherwise unremarkable places, as understated, absurdist insertions of the self created with commonplace materials. In these images Ekberg subverts the camera’s ability to accurately depict or explain these occurrences.

 

THE ARSONIST’S SHADOW series

 

ARRANGEMENT #1 2009, archival inkjet print, available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3) and
40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

UNTITLED 2010, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches
(edition of 3) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

UNTITLED (LIGHTER WITH COCKTAIL UMBRELLA) 2009, archival inkjet print, available at
18 x 24 inches (edition of 8)

 

A BUBBLE RESTS IN THE GRASS 2009, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 5, only #4 and #5 available), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3, only #2 and #3 available) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 1)

 

UNTITLED 2009, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches
(edition of 8)

 

THE VIEW THROUGH MY WINDOW 2007, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 5), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 1)

 

BALLOONS AND DISCO BALL 2010, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 3), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)    

 

MATCH 2007, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 8)

 

ARRANGEMENT #2 2010, archival inkjet print, available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3) and 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

SERIES INFO

“In calculated performances that intersect with photography’s documentary potential, I explore ephemeral occurrences that can serve as metaphors for existence. Making such humble events happen is alchemy of sorts, the transformation of the mundane into the poignant.

“Within the constructed images, I reposition specific celebratory iconography to create minor spectacles: balloons, cocktail umbrellas, disco balls, soap bubbles, and lens-based refractions. Such economy of means not only activates environments, it also prompts fascination and suggests auras.

“My process requires detailed and elaborate production outside the photographic frame so that what appears within the frame implies simplicity and straightforwardness. The photographs are made using medium and large-format cameras. While the images are handled digitally, Photoshop is used solely as a darkroom tool and not as a way in which to manipulate the image. It is important to me that these constructions actually exist in the world if only for the moment in which the photograph is made. Through this process, I hope to show that what is insignificant is not meaningless.”

 

NEXT TO NOTHING series

REVIEW Seattle P.I.

SMOKE RING 2007, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 2), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 1)

 

ABBERRATION 15 2008, archival inkjet print, available at 20 x 24 inches (edition of 2), 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 1)

 

BALLOON IN A ROOM 2008, archival inkjet print, available at
30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2), 50 x 60 inches (edition of 1)

 

A CAMERA IN THE FOREST 2008, archival inkjet print, available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

UNTITLED 2008, archival inkjet print, available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)

 

PRECISE EQUILIBRIUM 2008, archival inkjet print, available at 30 x 40 inches (edition of 3), 40 x 50 inches (edition of 2)