Anna Strand (b. 1979) works with photography and text. In her work she explores boundaries surrounding the image, the self and the reality. Through language-games and meta-references, she makes us question what we see in the image, but also what is happening beyond it – reflections on time and space, power and vision.
Nagoya Notebook is a project that started during a residency in Japan, in spring 2012. The encounter with Japanese culture is the central starting point – from greeting rituals and linguistic misunderstandings to Zen Buddhist philosophy of everyday phenomena such as flower arranging and tea drinking. Nagoya Notebook resembles a fictional notebook where different people, fictional and real, are combined into a singular self. Here, the artist’s own photographs and texts are interwoven with photographs found at a flea market. Some of the images are presented as sculptural objects and installations that spin off and reflect on what is happening in the actual images.
The found photographs appear to be taken by two men, in and around the city of Nagoya, during the first half of the 20th century. Strand’s photographs are staged, while the found images are snapshots that depict everyday scenes and events. By combining these with short texts, they also transform into a kind of staging. In some of the images there are visible traces of water damage, which has been treated in the texts as part of a crucial photographic moment. In one image a splash of water has been turned into clouds of smoke and thought bubbles, in another – where a diffuse stain spreads across a man’s chest – we are faced with the words “This is what time did to my heart”. The written parts of Nagoya Notebook are all based on a singular self, written in first person and with the same handwriting. At the same time, this is a self that shifts both shape and gender, and that blurs the boundaries between past and present, fiction and reality. Words and images occupy and try out different bodies, objects and directions. On one level Nagoya Notebook is set in Japan, but the artist’s experience of the country has also come to represent an emotional state and a controlled method for approaching the uncontrollable in everyday life.
Anna Strand is educated at the School of Photography in Gothenburg, where she graduated in 2008. She is based in Malmö and has previously exhibited at Peter Lav Gallery (2013/2011), Malmö Konsthall (2010), Landskrona Museum (2010) and Galleri Ping Pong (2009 /2007). She has been awarded several scholarships, including Robert Frank Scholarship (2005), Malmö’s Cultural Award (2006) and Arts Grants Committee’s annual scholarship (2009). In Spring 2012, she obtained a residency in Japan (Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Yamaguchi). Next year Nagoya Notebook will be released as a book by Sailor Press.