CREEPING IN CIRCLES
It has to be one of the most unlikely names for an artistic practice. It also has to be one of the most unlikely forms of art ever. Whoever heard of people on their hands and knees, with lights attached to their foreheads, literally creeping in
circles, sometimes hours at a time?
This is the extraordinary out of the box artistic practice of Nils Olof Hedenskog and Joakim Brolin – an artist and photographer from Sweden. When you ask them how this idea began, you end up going around in circles. One starts the story one way, the other another, but somehow, just like their practice, the stories meet in the middle with their evident joy in sharing and working together – and the fact they both love circles.
Yet looking at their work as separate artists, it is difficult at first to see that their could ever be any link between them. Nils is an established fine artist, with a love and obsession for colour. His works are abstract, painted in and held in many major collections. He is a city dweller, who also runs a film festival and is urbane, if a bit shy.
Joakim is a hermit who lives in the middle of nowhere and deliberately cuts himself off from the distractions of the world in order to practice his art and achieve his own internal balance. His photographic practice really pushes the boundaries of the glossy surface of photography – through thematic explorations of skin with the use of latex and as well as by actually attacking the surface of a photograph itself. One part of his practice involves putting photographs covered in tar in the open air for months at a time. The elements attack the surface, and flies, leaves and debris get trapped in the filmy surface.
But what links both artists is their intense obsessiveness and singular seriousness with circles – sometimes unconscious. As Joakim said, when he first met Nils it was to carry out a commission to make a portrait of him. He shot him in a circle. It was almost as if the practice was born in that moment.
From that moment was born a rapport between these two men, which somehow led to people being asked to creep in circles, sometimes for up to four hours at a time, all photographed on long exposures which blurs form and outline to create new colours and patterns. Part investigation into colour, part exploration of movement and the contradictions of light and shade, the artists explain that the crucial element – of all things – is that light bounces off the backs of the people taking part and that is what partly gives the photographs their peculiar intensity.
So what is not very surprising is that Creeping in Circles asked if they could come to CERN – home of the largest manmade circular machines on the planet. Here are some images from their specially curated visit to us on July 24th 2012. We also include some of the extraordinary images of their very unique artistic practice, which crosses the boundaries between ritual, performance, photography and painting.