Peter Morten Abrahamsen:
Photography 1987-1997

24. May 1997 to 17. August 1997

Peter Morten Abrahamsen : Photography 1987-1997

The exhibition showed portraits done by Danish press photographer Per Morten Abrahamsen. By manipulating and staging his motifs, Per Morten Abrahamsen creates an almost surreal universe. Abrahamsen's photographs are documentary, extremely subjective, theatrical and almost frank in their lack of distance between the photographer and subject. 

Their number is legion; the politicians, businessmen and cultural personalities who have been photographed by Per Morten Abrahamsen since the mid-1980s. Many of these portraits have become classics, unforgettable stagings of their subjects' personalities and functions. 

Abrahamsen's photographs are Baroque; they are grotesque, astonishing, often humorous; but if we study them more profoundly we find parallels to the enlightened despotism of the Baroque era - the surprising play with the image space, the theatrical lighting, the powerful use of symbols and the predilection for mirroring as a means of creating a confusing interplay of planes of reality. A pictorial language that is at once seductive and alienating. Many of these portraits were commissioned for articles in such periodicals as "Børsens Nyhedsmagasin" (a business news magazine) and the monthly magazine, "Press". He has also created a large number of covers for "Press": staged photographs, either dramatic close-ups or complex compositions that encapsulate both the surprise of an initial confrontation and an invitation to enter into a more precise analysis of Abrahamsen's ambiguous universe. 

Even though Abrahamsen's work has appeared in many different media, the greatest part - and perhaps the most important so far - of his production has unfolded in the context of the press. Although his pictures usually function in relation to a text, they are more than mere illustrations - they are, rather, parallel visual statements. 

It was this most complex and personal universe of contemporary characterisation that the exhibition focused on. No previous exhibition had ever illuminated Abrahamsen's work in context. Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center chose to give our exhibition a retrospective slant. It included, for instance, samples of his portraits and his covers for "Press", as well as a number of other facets of his work. 

The artist had also created an installation consisting of seven gigantic photographs, which hung as banners in the vast space of this former church, to create a new inner space.