Nicolai Howalt & Trine Søndergaard
– I recieved this beautiful little book in the mail from Hassla the other day. They have become one of my new favorite publishers recently, I like that they keep the books small and affordable but still keep the quality of the product as well as the work very high. This is especially true with Nicolai Howalt and Trine Søndergaard’s Tree Zone, the prints look great and the design goes perfectly with them. I’d highly recommend Tree Zone as well as the two other Hassla books I own, Takashi Homma’s First, Jay Comes and David Schoerner’s self titled book. They also had two posters printed of Tom Sandberg’s work for the NY Book Art Fair at PS 1, so act quick while they still have copies available for free.
Tree Zone by Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt is a photographic exploration of the Nordic landscape and ways in which we relate to it. Thematically and formally this work is a continuation of previous projects How To Hunt, Dying Birds and Hunting Ground.
In a series of images the artists have captured the barren landscapes found in areas along the Nordic timber line during winter. In this marginal land you see solitary trees weighed down by snow. The trees are bent and stunted by their harsh environment. Human forms may appear, but they seem insignificantly small within the vast, white nothingness.
The images represent a humanization of nature: Trees figure as human symbols in a series of “tree portraits” together with larger panoramic landscapes in monumental formats. In this way a suspense is created between immense, impenetrable space and singular, isolated trees.
These large, colourless images tell a story of defiance, of surviving in spite of ruthless conditions, of being part of a world that you can not fully control or know.