Torbjørn Rødland’s photos are an exercise in uncomfortable

The Norwegian photographer displacing reality just enough to make you squirm, opens a new exhibition

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Torbjorn Rodland The Cut
Torbjørn RØDLAND "The Cut", 2016. Framed chromogenic print on Kodak Endura paper without frame (80 x 105 cm)© the artist courtesy Air de Paris, Paris

Tørbjørn Rødland toys with the concepts of danger and pleasure in banal surroundings. Frightening and inspiring in equal measure, his photography forces you to question your own reality, whether you want to or not.

His latest exhibition, Birthday Sleep, continues this habit. Pairing a leg wrapped in white fishnets with a veiny arm; a pencil piercing a man’s (“The Curator”) nose; a post-pubescent boy cuddling a teddy bear; a pentagram ashtray with a loose tooth in it, Rødland once said, “I’ve always felt connected to American vulgarity – in poetry, pantheism, rock’n’roll and hip hop.” 

Disturbing the art world since the 90s – the Los Angeles-based Norwegian photographer’s discordant work has featured everywhere from the Spring Summer 2016 issue of Dazed, where he photographed Abbey Lee Kershaw poolside and dominating a man in a suit, to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the National Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

This solo show – his fourth in Paris – is likely to inspire an “undeniable mix of attraction and repulsion”, according to Air de Paris, where it’s being shown, as Rødland sets out (and succeeds) in creating an unsettling cohesion between truth and falsehood, often making it impossible to decipher which is which.

Birthday Sleep is on at Air de Paris until 22 July 2017

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