Charlotte Gyllenhammar Hang (Still Image), Silver gelatin print - Silicon mounted on glass (approximate size) 120 x 135cm

A few Fridays ago, I attended the reception for Charlotte Gyllenhammar, one of Sweden’s leading artists and participant in the exhibition Glasstrees 2001 at this year’s Venice Biennale. On view were black and white and color photographs from her series Hang. Dramatically light in the darkened gallery, the images were arresting—faces of women nestled inside swirls of fabric and fur against black, velvety backgrounds. Up close, the support turned out to be the glass adding an element of reflection.

What was really fascinating came later, during the artist‘s conversation with Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. She first explained how she sought to challenge a woman’s traditional domestic role. Then she offered an emotional, provocative, and seemingly contradictory account of how her subjects were in pain, suspended upside down when she photographed them. I kept thinking that I wouldn’t have had this read if I hadn’t known the title of the series, and instead would have lost myself in the sheer sensuality and textural orgy of the imagery. The all-too frequent perceptual gap between artist and viewer, in this case, only added depth to the experience.


  1. Marcos Smyth on Friday 28, 2011

    Sarah, your prose makes reading a pleasure. The observations you make are concise and revealing. You have a gift for conveying clearly what many miss.