“The touch that made you” by Torbjørn Rødland is an exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Amira Gad first presented at Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, in 2017.
Over the last two decades, Torbjørn Rødland, has created a body of images in which a fetishistic approach to subjects, objects and materials, coexist with the precision and plastic-aesthetics of commercial photography in staged set-ups.
At first glance, Rødland’s works don’t seem disturbing nor unpleasant; but if you look twice you’ll start notice ambiguous details that expose multiple layers of pleasure, discomfort, and pain lurking beneath the surface of aesthetic experience.
In Film Face (2008-2013), for instance, the face of a blanky girl is covered in transparent foil resembling an unlikely beauty mask. You can feel her breathing through each layer in a surreal suffocating situation. But despite a large number of far-from-reassuring visions, Rødland doesn’t lack irony such in Hair (2010-2014) where we find oranges surrounded with hair as a grotesque mockery of salons magazines.
Rødland attempt is to stand out and upset his audience through a discrete but effective touch, the same “Touch” which appears in the show title that — according to the artist — refers to the physical and immaterial affects that are embedded within images.
“The touch of the camera, the touch of the light hitting the film, the touch of the liquids running over the film during processing. I’m linking that to the stickiness and intimacy of certain motifs – these encounters between two individuals or between objects and bodies.”