For his new exhibition “MINUS EN” (Minus One) Per Maning will show a new series of photographs and videos based on the traditional still life motive. In the exhibition Maning is portraying objects from his everyday life, home and findings from his surroundings. Psychiatrist, psychotherapist, author and professor, Finn Skårderud writes about the exhibition:
In still life’s you give life to what lays, stands or hangs still. The translation is brutal in French, nature morte. Yes, what lays there can be dead, but in the English translation still life, life returns. Still life is not just the still life, but it can be about life being there still – there is still life.
In still life’s there are actually a life after death. Per Maning has stayed inside, carried objects to a table in his home and studio at Ekely. One of them are a pair of green shoes, both elegant and proud. They probably say something about the person who wore them. They walked up and down the same stairs in the house at Ekely. They are well worn. Now they don’t walk anymore.
And there is a jumper. It too has moved through the rooms here. It was probably great to have in cold winter days and chill summer nights. Now the shoes and the jumper has become a still life.
They were two in this house. And then one December day it was minus one. When we win something, joy or love, we always risk losing it again. After this there will always be minus this one.
A lot of art is created as part of a grieving process. The traditional still life motive can definitely work as a form of grieving. The camera is a very sensitive instrument, as the photograph friezes the moment. Stopped time mounted on the wall or framed and put on a shelf. It’s a way of remembering. Grieving is working through memories. The photograph is a frozen moment that puts sorrow in movement, so it’s not sorrow itself that friezes. It is still life.
Per Maning’s exhibition is a lot more then grief. It’s also something much more vital. It is a series of photographs that open our eyes. Now he has carried objects from the kitchen and out to the table in the studio. Its cutlery and pots. Some are placed in ordinary ways, others are arranged more unexpectedly. He found some old magnets in his basement. They are strong. Depended on their direction they attract or reject. And no matter if they are ordinary or unexpected, the photographs makes us looks at things with new eyes, the things that we usually overlook. I’m generally not that interested in the knifes in my drawers. Now I’m awakened.
Art has many functions. One of them is to penetrate through habits and the numbness of our senses. Still life’s portray unremarkable objects, such as food, vases, tablecloths and glasses. It’s these everyday objects that wakes us from the everyday. The French painter Cezanne painted many still life’s with apples. Frist time I saw these I was much hungrier for apples than the once I find in the grocery shop. His tastes better as well.
The still life in art can move life. We can rediscover our own surroundings, and see objects, our self and others. The interest can resurrect and curiosity can get going. Without them its dead.
“I develop myself,” Per Maning says about photography. I think I understand what he is saying, and its beautifully put.