The scenes of group excursions in the Norwegian and Swiss mountain landscape are taken from slides from the 1950s that Ebbe Stub Wittrup found at flea markets. He enlarged and reworked them in such a way as to blur the perception of reality, notably by reversing the focus.
“The members of the hiking party itself take center stage. Often it is the interaction and dynamics between group members, and between the hikers and nature, that constitute the thrust of the photos. The original documentary value that the images must be assumed to have had is not eliminated, but slips into the background. Instead of laying the stress on the photographs' documentary potential, Stub Wittrup displaces interest onto their purely visual aspects. By means of digital manipulation, parts of the subjects are blurred out while others retain their original distinctness. In some instances, Stub Wittrup has actually removed elements and added others, so that the integrity of the original is definitively jettisoned. For at first glance, the pictures appear as conventional photographs-realistic depictions of situations, geologicalformations, mountaintops, clouds. We presume that we are looking at the world as it was then. But that reality has undergone a slight edit in pictorial terms, with subtle stylizations and abstractions having been brought into play. The faces are blurred out, clothes and coiffures are mutated into irregular splotches or present as monochrome areas with clearly delineated folds. The natural logic of field depth is subverted in that narrow, sharplydepicted fields occur variously across the pictorial space. The result is a clutch of mildly confusing pictures which in virtue of their deliberately blurred elements read as a curious blend of photographic realism and painting’s gentle sfumato.”
From an essay by Rune Gade, Presumed Reality, Hatje Cantz, 2011
Presumed Reality # 1, # 10, # 5 & # 4, 2007-2013
Courtesy Ebbe Stub Wittrup & Martin Asbaek Gallery, Copenhagen, 2022
Ebbe Stub Wittrup
graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1999, and in 2010 he received the Danish Arts Foundation’s three-year work grant. In 2013-2019, Ebbe Stub Wittrup taught media art at the Jutland Art Academy. In his artistic practice, Wittrup works conceptually within a wide variety of media. Since the end of the 1990s, Ebbe Stub Wittrup’s practice has focused on especially the photographic medium. Many of Wittrup’s works can be described as either neorealistic snapshots or as conceptual photography, both characterized by a mysteriousness and by themes such as mythology and perception. The photographic works are often combined with other types of media such as video, text or objects. Ebbe Stub Wittrup has been presented at a number of group and solo exhibitions, both in Denmark and abroad. Most recently the exhibition Botanical Drift at Copenhagen Contemporary, which was presented in collaboration with the Gl. Holtegaard. While Botanical Drift was a presentation of Ebbe Stub Wittrup’s sculptural works and installations, Photographs at Gl. Holtegaard exhibited selected photographic works by Wittrup from the past ten years. His work can be found in many prestigious collections both in Denmark and abroad. The Presumed Reality series was exhibited in 2013 at the Kirchner Museum in Davos.
Ebbe Stub Wittrup
Born in 1973
Lives and works in Copenhagen
Represented by Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen