Modern Urban Life

Lars Tunbjörk
Open Eye Gallery, Wood Street (9th February - 5th April 2007)

Reviewed by Alicia Rose

In the Open Eye Gallery there is a write-up for Lars Tunbjörk’s ‘Modern Urban Life’ photographic exhibition. Upon reading it, one could anticipate something spectacular, moving, thought provoking. There is potential in the words that describe his art as being humorous whilst documenting social changes and globalization.

Turn away from the written words and then face the imagery. This exhibition is displayed in three parts. The first is entitled ‘Office’ (2001) and by travelling through New York, Tokyo and Sweden it seeks to illuminate the banality, oppression and madness of the workspace. It does this, albeit with sheer blandness. There are a couple of ‘quirky’ viewpoints and human idiosyncrasies caught in print, but otherwise this is a tedious sequence of pictures which, in places, sniffs of situations being ‘staged’.

Part two is where you stand in front of a wall hung DVD slide show lasting seven minutes. This is entitled ‘Dom Alla’ (All Those, 2002) and means to explore the Swedish welfare system. The images are well exposed, the portraits systematic with nice use of lighting. However, once again there is a sense of listlessness.

Moving with relief onto part three, ‘Madrid 2004’ and the dip in artistic stimulation continues. These final images supposedly throw light onto ‘nature within the built environment'. Tunbjörk chooses to photograph new-build residential blocks on the outskirts of Madrid together with some weeds. The pictures are almost too basic and emit an insipid aura. There is definitely a message here which Lars is trying to convey, but despite three such fantastic source-pools of potential, he fails to deliver.

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