For her second solo exhibition at Michael Hoppen Contemporary, Dutch photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland offers viewers ten recent large-scale works created in the northern regions of Canada. You Winter, let’s get divorced is a seductively beautiful and humourous show— quietly challenging the purpose of the photographic image while giving viewers a seamless invitation to remote cultures and landscapes worldwide.
In an interview with Tineke Reijnders, for Discovery, the publication accompanying the exhibition, Hooft Graafland explains that her practice is sculptural, performance-based and intuitive. Subverting the tradition of the photograph as documentation, as with the work of artists like Robert Smithson or Walter de Maria, the artist’s performances happen solely for the photograph in mind. She sits hidden under a polar bear skin on the bank of an icy lake in order to capture Polar Bear (2008); she lies naked across the roofs of Icelandic houses to make her Iceland Series (2004).
Breathtakingly beautiful, Scarlett Hooft Graafland’s photographs speak of a stillness that can only be found in the most remote corners of the world. Seeing her most recent exhibition is like stumbling into a Halldór Laxness novel—the visions of heavy grey skies, icy waters and tranquil snows are so overly-ethereal, it is hard to imagine they actually exist—but viewers will be thankful that they do.
(*Images, from top to bottom: Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Palm Tree, c-print, 100 x 125 cm, © Scarlett Hooft Graafland, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Contemporary. Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Journey, c-print, 100 x 125 cm, © Scarlett Hooft Graafland, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Contemporary. Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Lemonade Igloo, c-print, 100 x 125 cm, © Scarlett Hooft Graafland, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Contemporary.)