Lea Jessen from In The Gallery speaks to PHOTOFAIRS | PHOTOFAIRS

Lea Jessen from In The Gallery speaks to PHOTOFAIRS

© LEA JESSEN, Call Bell, 2006 Courtesy of In The Gallery (Copenhagen)

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is pleased Denmark based gallery In The Gallery, whose focus is on photography and art with reference to the photographic medium, will be joining us for the fourth edition, opening its doors to visitors this September 8 - 10, 2017.

Lea Jessen lives and works in Copenhagen.She was educated at the School of Photography Copenhagen in 2004, and has worked with the photographic medium since 1997.

Hi Lea, can you tell us what initially brought you to photography?
At the age of 14 I became captivated by the process of taking a picture. From the chemical process in the darkroom, to the final picture on paper. It gave me a “space” to express myself through creation and a different way to observe the world around me. I quickly knew that this was what I wanted to do.

What draws you to your subject matter?
I am attracted to the pictorial qualities of architecture and its ability to create abstract images through patterns of colour and line. I like how certain details are able to take on a whole new visual meaning when removed from their original context.

Do you think it is important for the audience to know the context of your work?
No, it is actually a central part of my purpose as an artist, to call attention to the complex relationship between image and real life. I also like the idea that people might use my works to gain a new perspective on their everyday surroundings and to see the beauty in all the little details, which usually go unnoticed.

Can you talk us through the process of how you go about shooting a new series?
It often starts with a fascination of materials, colours or geometric shapes. Then I go explore different locations, making some test shoots. I print out the test shoots hang them on my wall. Walks around them, look at them for a shorter or longer period. I’ll let them grow on me, and from there I will choose which work to continue with.

© LEA JESSEN, Wall Composition Number 5, 2017 Courtesy of In The Gallery (Copenhagen)

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on expanding my ongoing series Wall Composition, which was also part of my display here in Shanghai last year. The relationship between the early works of the series, and the ones I’m working on now is definitely visible, but at the same time they are very different in terms of colour scheme and surface structure.  

You’ve exhibited with us before, what excites you about exhibiting in Shanghai?
Although China is an increasingly important player in globalised society, I think to many Scandinavians, myself included, it still stands out as a very distant and culturally unique country. Yet, even though my work might be rooted in a Scandinavian pictorial tradition, I learned last year from the great response from the Chinese audience that it translates easily to an international context. And that ability to communicate across borders and cultural differences through the language of art is part of what is exciting to me about exhibiting in Shanghai.