MARTINA HOOGLAND IVANOW — THE FORUMIST (2015)
Words by Anna Åhren
Martina Hoogland Ivanow is one of few photographers who has successfully combined a career in both fashion photography and personal art projects. It requires an artist with skills and integrity.
Martina attended Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York before moving to London in the mid-1990s where she established herself in the fashion world, working with magazines such as Dazed & Confused and AnOther. She also created album and book covers during this time and photographed for various major fashion houses. It was in the beginning of the new millennium Martina returned to Stockholm to focus on her own projects. You might remember first seeing her work in the exhibition Fashination at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2004.
Today Martina Hoogland Ivanow is based in Stockholm, a city quite often described as an emotionally cold place with long winters. Although Martina holds another perspective on this northern capital; the fact that it is an exotic place compared to many other cities in the world. A sophisticated and cultural place with history, surrounded by forest and water. It offers her a certain stillness which will not demand attention and allow you to simply be. This view of her hometown touch upon an important aspect of our fast paced society, which is the luxury of being able to focus on things and as an artist, the creative process.
Martina’s work speaks of both control and the lack of it, something we all may experience in our daily lives. It is an artistic statement describing the beauty which can be found when allowing things to unfold, and perhaps even be out of our hands to control, as we choose to open the doors for chance. When you first encounter Martina’s photography you might get the sensation of having your eyes blindfolded, as the way you “see” her work will appear to come from a different place within.
An artist’s technique is both complex and personal, but it is safe to say that Martina holds a supreme understanding of light and shadows. She often uses a dark aesthetic, using a soft grey scale, and her work captures the moment and subject in a way which creates a mood that one can experience that subject in. It is an invitation to your own inner dialogue. Her work will encourage you to reveal perceptions, emotions and to build confidence in your own creative spirit. Martina asks us to look beyond the immediate impediments, a reminder that sometimes the less we see the more we feel.
In many ways Martina Hoogland Ivanow focuses on questions, rather than answers; reminding us not to take everything for granted. To look in-between different truths and accepted statements. Much of her work explore the periphery, and she does this in both a geographical and human/cultural sense. In Martina’s recent work Circular Wait (2010–2014), she focuses on the relationship between man and nature.
Circular Wait: “The title instills a sense of peace and reflects harmony, which I associate with something positive. But together the two words instead become a claustrophobic state in which one is incapable of changing one’s situation, one cannot get out of it. This is what intrigued me – this was a good example of the ambivalent nature of humans: we know what can be done but are incapable of doing it.” – Martina Hoogland Ivanow
The Circular Wait explores our, often artificial and contradictory, relationship with nature. Her images are drawing parallels to the society we live in today and these documentary elements are mixed with color and light abstractions using artificial colors creating a dream-like dimension. It is very much about the balance between humankind, culture, sustainability and nature. The fact that we are living in a time when much change will be expected from us, and at the same time the difficulty to live up to this. It is about our growing desire to live closer to nature, which often turns out to be both complex and contradictory. Martina’s photographic work explore this dualistic nature and how the self relates to the world.