Two variations on the portrait register inscribe the marks of time on known or anonymous faces in an original way: large-format photographs of plaster casts dialogue with portraits whose print surface has been accidentally damaged. In an interview published in 2001 on the occasion of an exhibition at the Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Torben Eskerod talks about the portrait genre, his relationship with death and his conception of photography.
“l agree with Rodin when he said that portraiture is one of the most difficult genres of all. I've always been fascinated by Alberto Giacometti and Medardo Rosso, by their ability to condense the portrait; it's difficult to describe this in words, but it hits me right in the solar plexus. Giacometti's portraiture exhibits a preoccupation with the reduction of expression and feeling, a faltering before the point where appearance and disappearance come face to face. It is this which represents the challenge for me in portrait photography. […] Well death is always round the corner for me, as it's so inextricably a part of being alive. In Rome I was working on a series of portraits from tombstones. The parlaying of this theme actually takes place in the object itself, in the document. The portraits are produced with reflections from the glass and show the effects of the wear and tear of time. I am not working as a creator of stage sets, cannot put the people I photograph into settings. This perhaps exemplifies the difference between the role of the scientist and the film director. […] The technical sphere is naturally part of my work. I regard the camera as a machine
that enables me to undertake a form of scientific investigation. This is where my educational background comes in. I am working in that fertile exchange area between science and art.”
Damaged Portraits, 2011
Ulla Poulsen Skou, Life and Death Masks, 2001
Karen Blixen, Life and Death Masks, 2001
Johannes V. Jensen, Life and Death Masks, 2001
BjØrn BjØrnson, Life and Death Masks, 2001
Courtesy Fotografie Forum, Frankfurt & Alison Nordstrom
Torben Eskerod is educated from Aalborg University (1980-86) and has studied at Aarhus School of Architecture and Fatamorgana School of Photography in Copenhagen (1988-91). Eskerod’s projects find common ground in his interest for contemplation and spirituality. He is especially known for his portraits in series like Equivalence (1995), Cassadaga (2000), Register - Life and Death Masks (2001), Friends and Strangers (2006) and Campo Verano (2008). His approach to the spiritual potentials for photography is further explored in the series Marselis (2012) and Can Lis (2013). Eskerod’s work has been published in the books Ansigter / Faces (Ministry of Culture’s photographic bookprice, Forlaget Rhodos, 1997), Register (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 2001), Campo Verano (Kehrer Verlag, 2008) and Marselis (Kehrer Verlag, 2014). Eskerod is also photo editor at Daylight & Architecture Magazine published by Velux. Eskerod has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Museum of Modern Art in Moskow, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Overgaden Institut for samtidskunst in Copenhagen, Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Peter Lav Gallery in Copenhagen and Yossi Milo Gallery in New York. The Fotografie Forum in Frankfurt has just dedicated a major retrospective to him, Findings.
Born in 1960
Lives and works in Copenhagen
Represented by Kant Gallery, Copenhagen