“Rewilding” is the theme under which six artists will present their works in Copenhagen.
The largest photo festival in the Nordic region, the Copenhagen Photo Festival, will return in June 2023 with exhibitions held at various galleries, museums, and art institutions in the Copenhagen area and southern Sweden. The Festival Center, located on Refshaleøen, will host exhibitions, talks, events, and social gatherings, providing a 360-degree festival experience. This year’s festival will feature six solo artists exploring the theme of “rewilding” through their work. The festival’s aim is to showcase innovative photography and lens-based art, whether documentary or artistic, and create a platform in Northern Europe for these art forms. Here are the six solo artists exhibiting:
SOLO ARTIST 2023
Nanna Heitmann – “Hiding from Baba Yaga”, 2018 – Ongoing
The project “Hiding from Baba Yaga” by Nanna Heitmann was initiated in the untamed wilderness surrounding the Yenisei River in Russia. This land has been a sanctuary for nature to thrive and for nomads to settle for centuries. However, it has also been a refuge for fugitives, political dissidents, and adventurers. Nowadays the Yenisei River continues to be a space for dreamers and loners to escape the globalized world. Baba Yaga is a character from a Slavic folktale. She is portrayed as a witch that chases a little girl named Vasilisa through the forest.
In her series “Hiding from Baba Yaga”, Nanna Heitmann portrays the people and the way of living in the Yenisei area. Here, different characters with different backgrounds come together. Among the protagonists is Yuri, who lives along the river and came here because all his friends died from alcohol or drug abuse. Further away lives Valentin, a self-proclaimed anarch-ecologist who moved here after being traumatized by the war. All those stories are drastically different from one another and show different life situations. Despite everything, they all ended up in the same place and are somehow connected to the Yenisei River: a land of freedom and escapism.
Kristina Knipe – “Talisman”, 2022
In “Talisman”, Kristina Knipe explores queer identity through mythology in New Orleans. Her photographs capture the transformation of objects, spaces, and bodies. We see objects disappear and resurface broken in other pictures, bodies change, time transforming people and plants dying. The artist describes this process as a queer ritual that works towards a merging and healing of the self and the body. The project portrays people whose reality includes trying to maintain mental health without accessible healthcare, the repurposing of objects, traumatic experiences, cycles of depression, expressing gender and sexuality, and persisting through loss. The artist’s story is intertwined with those she photographs, cohabiting spaces and experiences within a community of artists, activists, and healers.
Daniel Hinks – “The Sunshiners; Code Red in Green China”, 2021
Daniel Hink’s “The Sunshiners; Code Red in Green China” focuses on how plastic contamination in the oceans is affecting fishing culture in China, which is traditionally and economically significant for many people. The project highlights the importance of addressing this issue as the amount of plastic in the ocean continues to grow and poses a threat to both marine life and human health. Hinks incorporates external elements such as gloves and bottles into his photographs to connect them to the reality he presents, and he uses acetate sheets and sea water developed negatives to depict the deterioration that may occur in the future if nothing changes.
Craig Ames – “Photographs of British Algae – AI Impressions”, 2022
Craig Ames “Photographs of British Algae – AI Impressions” is a project inspired by the pioneering work of botanist and photographer Anna Atkins, who created the world’s first photobook and photographic record of botanical specimens using cyanotype impressions in the mid-1800s. Ames uses AI technology to create “AI Impressions” of algae specimens, reflecting Atkins’ approach to image-making. By processing a collection of Latin names of the exemplars through a text-to-image AI generator, Ames produces a new visual taxonomy of simulated algae, intentionally blurring the line between the real and the artificial. This highlights the growing disconnect between the natural world and simulated hyperreality.
Hilla Kurki – “Almost All the Flowers in My Mothers Garden”, 2022
Hilla Kurki‘s project “Almost All the Flowers in my Mother’s Garden” (published by Khaos Publishing) is a visual exploration of her mother’s garden and the beloved flowers within it. Flowers are her mother’s passion; she grew them like she “grew” her daughters. In Finnish the verb for “to grow” and “to raise” are the same (kasvaa). This forms the base of Kurkis work. The flowers symbolize her and her sisters, each unique and beautiful in their own way. The project also delves into the relationship between mothers and daughters. The resulting book, published in 2022, includes intimate memories from anonymous daughters. The flowers serve as a representation of the care and nurturing that shapes us as individuals.
Erik Berglin – “The Bird Project”, 2006 – 2017
Erik Berglin’s “The Bird Project,” which will be showcased at the 2023 festival, is a long-term endeavor that spanned twelve years from 2006 to 2017. The artist employed wheat-pasting to display hand-cut images of birds, all in natural sizes, throughout different cities worldwide. He then took photographs of these bird installations himself. In total, the project culminated in 4982 photographs of various bird species wheat-pasted across twelve cities globally, including Gothenburg (2006), Berlin (2007), Tel Aviv (2008), Casablanca (2009), New York (2010), Reykjavik (2011), Madrid (2012), Malmö (2013), Rio de Janeiro (2014), Buenos Aires (2015), London (2016), and Stockholm (2017).
To begin the project, Berglin sourced ornithology books from antique bookstores and libraries, selecting appropriate images to scan, edit, and reprint. He then meticulously cut out the bird images with scissors and a scalpel to liberate them from the paper. “The Bird Project” amalgamates different fields, such as ornithology, storytelling, street art, and street photography.