The devil in Terje Abusdal’s pictures: how I once dreamt I ate my family

Before today, I didn’t know Terje Abusdal’s work and I confess I fell for it. I’m not exceptionally good at anything, except at falling in love at first sight and that’s what happened here. Sometimes, when I first encounter an author’s work, things look pretty clear. Specifically, what an author excels at seems to becomes obvious. And, then, regarding the work at hand, I guess the author’s style and originality finally invade and dominate the dynamics of the aesthetic experience.

© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.
© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.
© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.

In Hope Blinds Reason, Terje’s work that really stroke me, it’s like darkness is the premise guiding the plot. Darkness, evil, shadows, monsters, whatever lives in our nightmares, our repressed memories, our collective unconscious, the magical nature of our pictorial imaginary… it all seems to come alive in Terje’s work. I suppose this darkness I project is just partially triggered by his images: the parts we don’t see, the failed movements, the ritualistic circles, the animal presence, the blue ice cold images, the scientific nature of the infrared images, the sheets, the immensity of the water where we once drowned, the vultures, the horns, the never-ending holes in the ground, the inverted silhouettes, the unaccomplished connections, the pig, the butterflies, the monkeys, the chains, the snakes, the sex… 

As for the other part, it’s both played out by my cultural heritage – the tons of horror movies I watched with my brother, the Lynchian universe, etc. – and this magical universe that inhabits our dreams and, consequently, my recurrent nightmares.

© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.
© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.

I once dreamt I ate my family in a very vivid cannibalistic ritual, but that doesn’t say much, when it comes to nightmares. What I find particularly original and penetrating in Terje’s stories is how he masters these non linear, non figurative images, that are part of our immaterial culture, into a photographic narrative.

More about Terje’s work can be seen in his website and a short text about another project, namely Slash & Burnhere

© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.
© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.
© Terje Abusdal, ‘Untitled’, from the project ‘Hope Blinds Reason’.

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