Virtual Reality with Felländer at Fotografiska

By on December 15, 2016

How to Unlock a Portal

An exhibition by Jacob Felländer that challenges the genre of photography with virtual reality, 

16th December 2016 -15th January 2017.

He has got a lot of international fans, this photographer who is constantly moving forward. Continually developing. Fotografiska is proud to present the world premier of Jacob Felländer’s pioneering exhibition How to Unlock a PortalBy means of virtual reality the viewer is invited to dramatically change perspective and experience the artwork from the inside in an exhibition that challenges the very definition of photography.

After 15 years of courageous experimentation, Felländer now takes his art a step further in a major exhibition comprising photography, painting, sculpture and virtual reality (VR), on display in Fotografiska. The exhibition presents Felländer’s creative journey, from his classic analogue multi-exposed photographs to the virtual universe he has created with these images.

The result: Felländer’s works function as portals in which the viewer is able to journey inside the artwork and experience something completely new. By working with multiple exposures using old, re-engineered analogue cameras, he has previously created cityscapes directly on negative film. Art that has received praise, from people such as the Clintons who have bought several pieces.

– Worlds are created intuitively through me and my cameras. I really don’t know much about these semi-abstract cityscapes but I want to learn more. Only now with advanced technology have I been able to start constructing these worlds in 3D. By using VR, I can finally travel around inside my images. Once inside I can take photographs and create sculptures which I then return to the physical world. Thus my images become a portal to a new universe where I can create innovative art, Jacob Felländer explains.

Pauline Benthede, Exhibition Manager, on why Fotografiska is holding this exhibition:

– The exhibition reflects Jacob Felländer’s working process, from the analogue photograph to the state-of-the art technology that makes possible the worlds he evokes. Starting from the flat surface of the image Felländer’s photographs comprise multiple sequences of time and numerous geographic locations in the same image. As the photographs expand even more they create a depth into which the viewer can step – a whole new world based on the world as we know it, and the boundary in between is beginning to be erased. It is a breathtaking journey that in many ways has only just begun.

In How to Unlock a Portal, the art reflects how we move between the virtual world and the real world in an ongoing extension, in and out and back in again. It is a portal that opens your eyes to all the possibilities today’s movement between different dimensions implies, where we are constantly switching between the digital and the real. The exhibition raises important questions about the opportunities that lie before us: What do we want to do with this virtual world which, with the rapid development of technology, we are increasingly becoming co-creators of? Whether we are actively moving in it or passively standing outside – what would we like it to be?

Felländer points out that this is a work in progress and a starting point for the future.

– I will certainly continue with this project for another twenty years or so. In order to move forward I must allow the viewer to encounter the works. Only then can I begin to study how they function and, based on the process, continue.

In the future, Felländer would also like to invite others to create inside his “new” universe.

– I believe that I can develop my art further if I open up this new universe to cooperation and input from others. Despite the protests of my artist ego…

The exhibition also includes a 3D-printed sculpture from inside the virtual world. That it represents a water tower is no coincidence. We continue to be physical beings, even in virtual reality, and we also function as portals between different realities.

– The water tower is the bridge between the city and nature. Here the sculpture functions as the bridge between the human and the digital. Surely we need water even when we visit the virtual world?!

Hillary and Bill Clinton own seven works by Felländer, a testimony to international reach of Felländer’s practice. He has exhibited his photographs widely, including at Hamiltons Gallery, London; Camera Work, Berlin and Grand Palais, Paris. Stand Still, Felländer’s first gallery exhibition, was held at Galerie Aronowitsch, Stockholm in 2007.


The working process: Jacob Felländer has long worked with old cameras, some over 100 years old, and photographed one small part of the negative at a time, providing him with multiple exposures. During the shoot he moves position, thus gaining differing perspectives of the same image. Each photograph consists of several layers and the photograph of the city, “City”, can actually comprise elements from several cities, or the same location simultaneously viewed from different perspectives. After developing the photograph he searches for details and structures in the image which he highlights by painting them with charcoal and sometimes other colours such as bright red to create unique layers. These are later constructed into a 3D virtual world in which one can move freely. Inside this world Felländer takes new photographs (images taken inside an image). Felländer also works with sculpture. He removes items from the virtual world, prints them in 3D and moulds them into physical objects. 

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