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Torbjørn Rødland

Greenspon
71 Morton Street
May 9, 2015–June 7, 2015

Torbjørn Rødland, This is My Body, 2013-15, pigment print, 24 x 30 5/8".

Bodies in bad form make up Torbjørn Rødland’s second solo show at Algus Greenspon. There is the belly in Drunken Man, 2014–15, wine-splashed and birthmarked and fat. There are the hands in The Photographer, 2015, or rather, the fetal stumps. There is The Geller Effect, 2014, a deathly still life in which bent and broken utensils lie with blond wisps of hair, and there is a green-looking foot hooked into the waist of a man’s pants in Red Pump, 2014–15. The ten photos in “Corpus Dubium” are lit in ways that can only be described as wrong: from behind or below, lending subjects or objects a silvery, queasy cast. All recall nothing so much as the Seconal dream tableaux of Jo Ann Callis.

The only bodies that aren’t deformed belong to two or three white girls of different ages (almost everyone in Rødland’s output is, like himself, white and Scandinavian—he has referred to his work as autobiographical). The youngest girl, in This Is My Body, 2013–15, has a strong pair of hands at her neck and in her mouth, as if she’s about to have an exorcism or lose a baby tooth. The oldest appears in The Mirror, 2014–15, taking a naked selfie with one white sock and one white shoe on. She could also be the girl in Blue Jeans, 2014–15, holding the jeans’ huge waist away from her torso with a white-gloved hand, making the image either a weight-loss ad or the scene of a crime—but since we don’t see her face, we don’t know. We also don’t know whose pill case is shown in This Is Every Week, 2012–15, its contents shot across undulating strips of gray material in Tablets and Waves, 2014–15. We do know that there is rarely a cure for a pattern. There is instead, as in the titular image of a man’s muscled arm squiggled with varicose veins, a chance to see beauty as symptomatic.

Sarah Nicole Prickett