Nanna Debois Buhl interview: Time Travelling with Photography



“I see my works as constructions with many doors.” Join us as we visit the acclaimed Danish artist Nanna Debois Buhl in her studio in Copenhagen. In the video, Buhl talks about two of her dreamlike projects revolving around clouds and the 1969 Moon landing.

“My projects are rarely about getting an exact answer. They are more about identifying questions and using them as an underlying basis.” Buhl discusses her project ‘Cloud Behaviour’ (2018), where she photographed clouds and processed them in a colour developer. Exposing them with coloured light afterwards, she could then create grading: “It was like painting photographically.” In her project, Buhl continues, there are three aspects: The photographic investigation of clouds and how they move, the speculation about the symbolism attached to it, and finally the scientific facet of what cloud movements can reveal about climate change. In connection to this, Buhl uses old photographic techniques, and likes how she can use these techniques to investigate current things: “So it’s also a time travel for me to work with these methods.”

Buhl also talks about her series of large photogravure prints, ‘Moon Memory’ (2018). Here she looked at the woven computer programming that was the bases of the Apollo 11 mission (where astronauts took the first steps on the Moon): “What I wanted to do with this work was to look at some of the physical material and the workmanship that made the landing possible.” The project began when Buhl read an article by the programmer Margaret Hamilton. Hamilton disclosed how several women were involved in the preparations of the project by the converting the program into copper weaving: “So visually I portray in this work a meeting of analogue and digital materials.” Moreover, Buhl feels that it is also an exercise in telling an often-told story differently: “And by telling stories in a different way, could we look into the future in new ways?”

Nanna Debois Buhl (b. 1975) is a Danish visual artist, who works with photographs, installations, films, site-specific works in public spaces, and artist’s books. Her work has been exhibited at prominent institutions worldwide, including at Pérez Art Museum in Florida, Sculpture Center in New York, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, and Lunds Konsthall in Lund. She lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more see: https://nannadeboisbuhl.net/

Nanna Debois Buhl was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio and at CPH Silver Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark in May and June 2019.

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Edited and produced by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen

Cover photo: From ‘Cloud Behaviour’ (2018) by Nanna Debois Buhl. Courtesy of the artist

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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