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Torbjorn Rodland: The Touch That Made You


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This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Torbjørn Rødland: The Touch That Made You (29 September – 19 November 2017) at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London


Torbjørn Rødland constructs portraits, still lifes and landscapes, which simultaneously inhabit and defamiliarise the realm of the everyday. With a highly constructed and at times fetishistic approach to subjects, objects and materials, Rødland makes photographs that are formally acute, conceptually playful and psychologically evocative. Characterised by their double-edged allegories and underlying lyricism, Rødland’s staged scenarios ‘keep you in the process of looking’, revealing layers of discomfort and pleasure.


This accompanying publication offers new and fresh lenses through which to view the Rødland’s work. Walead Beshty’s text, titled ‘Skin Flicks’, focuses on the artist’s unique approach to surfaces, Julie Boukobza considers a number of works in the exhibition by building fictive narratives around them, whilst Diane Nguyen stages a surreal and winding narrative performance through Rødland’s image repertoire. Bob Nickas’ essay, ‘Fifteen Years Later’ draws upon the experience of looking at Rødland’s photographs and provides a visual map of their complex system of symbols, signs and gestures. Highlighting the poetics of image-making that is intrinsic to Rødland’s approach, the publication also includes newly-commissioned works by esteemed poets, Stuart Krimko and Alice Notley.