12 Dec 2018
The Society and The Looking Glass Photos
In her exhibition at Hippolyte Studio Helga Härenstam will show two recent works: The Society and The Looking Glass Photos. In her work Härenstam often takes an interest in the relations between memory, photography and autobiography and how those subjects interfere with each other and their balance between fiction and reality. For her photography is a way of telling and constructing more or less autobiographical stories.
The Society is a fictious documentary, trough which Helga Härenstam has been looking for and/or constructing environments, scenes and events, that are based on memories from the small society where she grew up. The people photographed in these series are Härenstam herself, her family and other people that she is close to.
The series is a puzzle of pictures dealing with the borders between documentary and staged, the real and the unreal and the past and the present. The title The Society, is inspired by a place, where Helga Härenstam partly grew up. This place does have a name, but is simply called ”the society”. Härenstam found the ambiguousness of the word society interesting though it refers to a context of world politics and states that shut in and shut out citizens depending on where they are considered to belong. At the same time it refers to this small community, which basically functions in the same way, just on a minor scale.
The Society tells several stories about growing up in a rural area that slowly becomes abandoned. A transitional place is formed between the past and the present ways of how the society functions and between the past and the present way ones memory functions.
The other series exhibited at Hippolyte Studio is called The Looking Glass Photos. In this work Härenstam has been inspired by the photographs in an old family photo album and the assocations they gave her.
Helga Härenstam´s photographic works are often exampels of things that fascinate and interest her in life and the surrounding world. However The Looking Glass Photos also deals with the fascination for photography itself and the feeling of traveling through time, when looking at old family photos and reflecting your own life through the lifes of the people who, due to numerous of random courses of events, have contributed to your existence.