Obstacle Featuring Artist Patrik Elgström
September 8 - October 15, 2016
The Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Residency Program elevates the international contemporary art landscape and fosters global collaboration through our partnership with the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Each year, Blue Star selects 4 San Antonio artists for three-month residencies in Berlin, where they join 24 other artists from around the world. Building on this exchange, Blue Star is pleased to welcome fellow Künstlerhaus Bethanien resident artists to San Antonio, further fostering our international collaborations and mission to nurture San Antonio's art community.
In Winter 2015, Blue Star presented Landscapes by the Book, a video by Norwegian artist Bodil Furu (KB resident from January 2014-15), which explored how modernity has altered the landscape of Fron, Norway. Obstacle by Patrik Elgström is the second exhibition developed as a result of Blue Star’s relationship with the KB, presented in partnership with Trinity University at the Michael and Noemi Neidorff Gallery. Elgström was a resident at KB from October 2014-15.
Patrik Elgström is a photographer who finds his motifs during walks in his immediate environment, which he investigates with a camera and maps out subjectively. In recent years, Elgström has been working on a long-term project in his home city Göteborg; Blocking is a photo series produced in the vicinity of the river Göta Älv, which flows through the city – a subjective description of a place including its history and present. It has changed over the course of time, parallel to shifts in the city's center and periphery.
The starting point for Elgström was a focus on "things in the way", which block the view. Instead of classic motifs like landscapes, Elgström photographs architectural structures made from massive materials such as stone or concrete or rather, details of them. The shots are always empty of human beings; the spaces in the pictures appear self-contained and do not open up to either the outside or the inside. Elgström continued this approach in his project Obstacle. In Berlin, his walks led him through the city's historical power center, to places that now represent a different past Berlin. The structures of architecture and the materials they consist of, represent different layers of time and historical epochs. These places were completely unfamiliar to Elgström, which gave him a neutral standpoint in respect to the object photographed and facilitates the intuitive working method he prefers.