Nadav Kander’s photographs leave a moving trace which replaces me in front of the water each time I reminisce on those soothing memories.
Entering the Flowers gallery on Kingsland street always promises overwhelming emotions .
This time, the space has been re-arranged for the presentation of London based artist Kander. The photographer has worked on the Thames Estuary, capturing an entire atmosphere rather than mere still shots. Along with the vertically displayed photographs, Max Richter’s slow and calming melody accompanies the rough movements of the waves.
The dual character of agitation and quiet interacts incessantly to the point where only a peculiar harmony reigns, discernible to those who listen and reflect.
The photographs are presented as diptychs or triptychs and are always shot vertically in this series. Three separate images brought together describe the movement of the waves, along with the striking colours of greens, greys and whites coming from the water, foam, and sky.
Kander takes inspiration from Chinese Shan Shui scroll paintings which depict sceneries of mountains, rivers and waterfalls in a poetic, natural manner. Brush and ink are employed traditionally and are observed in Kander’s work through the mysterious mist and the clear, defined outlines of the waves.
Kander is an artist who travels, wandering along with chance and patience. In his renown composition Yangtze-The Long River, he journeyed throughout China to capture undefinable moments, associating the immensity of a landscape with the random punctuality of individuals. The renderings speak of the familiarity of an emotion hidden behind the simplicity of the urban panorama or as in this recent Thames nature series, behind the water.
Ubiquitous at the viewer’s sight: Hoo Peninsula, Kingsnorth Power Station and North Kent marshes located in Kent, South East England transpire in the background, creating a mirage calling us to advance further into the picture.
In a Christie’s short documentary, Kander highlights the importance of his position as an outsider when observing the subject matter. His photographs hence, absorb his personal emotions and participate in his self-introspection. According to the artist, a lot can be understood from a photographer’s work operating in a non-conventional style.
It is unsurprising then, that the images I am gazing at seem filled with additional qualities invisible to the eye: distress and loneliness. From these feelings melded into the water, emerges an abstract vision, a sort of runaway territory which could not be real except in the artist’s inner world.
In a day and age where photographs have become a new paradigm, replacing oral and written communication, it appears that this means of expression is being re-considered from a deeper, emotional perspective.
Artists will blur the immediacy and the commonality of photography to coerce viewers into reflecting on the reality of the image. I believe photography has ceased being an exact science by replicating the facts but is now rather in the process of transporting us into a conceptual, intangible sphere.
In that sense, Kander confirms: “I do not wish to focus my lens and capture a millisecond of realistic information. I am moving away from common perceptions that photographs are the result of a lens that ‘focuses sharply’ on what is in front of it.”
Nadav Kander: Dark Line – The Thames Estuary at Flowers Gallery (17 November – 13 January 2017)