ARTIST:

JH Engström

Download Artist’s CV

JH Engström
Nude 5 - Sniffing Armpit,

94 x 119 x 7 cm

JH Engström
Nude 1, 2005
C-print
125 x 90 cm

JH Engström’s naked subjects are relaxed, seemingly at ease with themselves and the gaze of others. If, on the one hand, the pictures have no erotic charge (it might be fairer to say that they don’t follow the conventions of photographic titillation), on the other hand, there is nothing clinical about them; the casual framing and background hints of domesticity counter that. Nakedness is presented simply as a natural state. Engström, I think, identifies personally with the ’nakedness’ of his subjects.

JH Engström
Nude 2, 2005
C-print
125 x 90 cm

His photography is about vulnerability and exposure, and it is as much about his own.

JH Engström
Nude 3, 2005
C-print
125 x 90 cm

His ’nudes’ are in this sense self-portraits. On the occasion of his book Trying to Dance (2004), from which the pictures in Out of Focus were taken, the photographer admitted to "...always looking for presence.

JH Engström
Nude 4, 2005
C-print
90 x 125 cm

Whenever I try, my doubts get unmasked." The work is therefore autobiographical. And as he puts a feeling of loneliness high on the list of his sensibilities, he has come up with a strategy that heightens the mood; he distances the viewer from himself and from his world (i.e., you will feel my loneliness, too) by a purposefully imperfect technique.

JH Engström
Untitled, 2005
C-print
90 x 125 cm

Prints seem muddy, or faded, or the colour balance seems off. This washed-out patina makes the photographs look indeterminately old – were they taken ten years ago, twenty? I think reviewer Martin Jaeggi has it right when, speaking of Engström’s pictures, he has "the impression of looking at memories”.

Text by William A Ewing

×

VISITING SAATCHI GALLERY

Opening Hours:
Monday - Wednesday: 10AM - 6PM
Thursday & Friday: 10AM - 8PM
Saturday - Sunday: 10AM – 6PM

Explore What’s On

Useful links: FAQs & Covid-19 guidance