New York Photo Review
Volume 2 Issue 40 November 15 to 21, 2011

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Office Home and Country
Lars Tunbjörk
 by Lars Tunbjörk. Source: amadorgallery.com
Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk is a well-regarded Swedish photographer whose work is often reminiscent of a mixture of Winogrand’s whimsy and Eggleston’s sense of color, except he mainly focuses on Swedish society and culture. Think Ikea and you can appreciate the blandness that Tunbjork purposely communicates in much of his work now on display at Amador. This exhibition is actually a trilogy since it features 22 color images from three of his books – Landet Utom Sig, (Country Beside Itself), Home and Office—that cover the period from 1988 to 2002.

The six images that comprise Home are easily the most boring and that is probably the photographer’s point, but it takes some concentration to get it. The emptiness portrayed in these photographs of suburbia is illustrated by a row of look-alike houses. The only sign of life, if you can call it that, are some flowers next to a leafless tree. In another image entitled “Boras” (a Swedish town), water is rushing down a red children’s slide, a bright yellow house in the background. Is that a metaphor for life? For me, the most interesting image in this series is “Lesjofors,” which shows a house whose yellow striped awning, brickwork, and yellow drainpipe give it a sense of individuality. We can only imagine who might live here.

In Landet Utom Sig, Tunbjörk takes on Swedish society with a vengeance. The influence of William Eggleston seems evident in “Oland, 1991” which shows a man and woman lying on beach chairs with umbrellas behind a row of suburban tract houses. It feels like a sad commentary on their life and fits into the category, “There’s more to this picture than meets the eye.” The most absurd commentary on Swedish society is displayed in Tomteland, Mora, 1988, An adult drives a toy car while a statue of Santa Claus (or is he live?) stands watch as two children play. Is he saying, “Is this all there is?” Still, it’s amusing.

Lawyer’s Office, New York by Lars Tunbjörk. Source: amadorgallery.com
Lars Tunbjörk, "Lawyer’s Office, New York" 1977

Finally, in “Office,” Tunbjörk takes on corporate culture. Some of these photographs were taken in the U.S. and Japan so consider his visual commentary on the sterility of corporate life as universal. He makes his point with photographs of empty cubicles and of computer printouts spilling onto the floor of a Tokyo office. Best of all, in Lawyer’s Office, New York, 1997, he shows a woman working under a desk with her boss (?), cigar stuck in his mouth, sitting behind her, or more to the point, above her.

Lars Tunbjörk’s work in this exhibition lacks consistency because it is, in fact, from three distinct series. Some of the images are more difficult to look at (read comprehend) than others, but there are rewards for those who make the effort.

Lars Tunbjörk



Amador Gallery
41 E 57th St. 6th Fl
Midtown         Map

212 759 6740
amadorgallery.com

Tuesday, September 13 to
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Hours: Tues - Fri, 11-6; Sat 11 - 5
Share

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery