13.6 – 7.7 2018
Olaf Otto Becker:Broken Line
13.06 – 07.07.2018
The first UK solo exhibition of German photographer, Olaf Otto Becker was held at Huxley-Parlour Gallery in June 2018. The exhibition included over 20 large-scale colour works taken from his series Broken Line (2003-2006) and Ilulissat (2003-2017).
Olaf Otto Becker has spent fourteen summers travelling across the western coast of Greenland. His project Broken Line, documents the effects of global warming on the coastal landscape and the glaciers that form there. The project took him on a 4000km journey along the west coast of Greenland alone in a rubber zodiac raft, documenting the landscape with a large format camera. In this series, Becker explored the relationship between the fragile arctic landscapes and the people who live and work there. The series took him to the settlements of Oquaatsut, Ikerasak, Tasiussaq and Nuussauq, where he photographed small, isolated wooden houses with brightly painted facades nestled in amongst the forbidding and ever-changing landscapes.
Becker’s recent series Ilulissat continues to confront environmental issues, as he photographed the monumental icebergs that border the coastal settlement of Ilulissat. The town is one of the oldest settlements in western Greenland, situated 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The town is situated on one of the largest and most active ice fjords in the world, and is surrounded by the imposing icebergs that form in Disko Bay. The photographs meditate on the colour, light and scale of the dramatic Arctic landscape.
In both series, Becker poignantly photographs a landscape in flux. Becker compares the icebergs he photographs to ‘sculptures of change’ as they, for him, are reminders of the continuing process of climate change. Over the relatively short period of time the artist has been spending time in proximity to the Arctic Circle, he has been witness to undeniable signs of global warming.
B. Germany 1959
Olaf Otto Becker’s first project, Under the Nordic Light (2005) documented the dramatic landscape of Iceland. His subsequent project Broken Line (2003-2006), explored the effects of global warming on the coastal landscape of Greenland and the glaciers that form there. The artist claims, ‘I was interested in a wild, unspoiled landscape. I was interested in a place where the landscape developed on its own.’ In this series, Becker surveys the relationship between the fragile arctic landscapes and the people who live and work there, presenting the immense architectural-like summits of the western coast of Greenland. Similarly, his following project, Reading the Landscape continues his exploration of environmental concerns focused on ravaged rainforests and the effects of deforestation, this time over a range of Asiatic geographies – Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore.
Olaf Otto Becker was born in Lübeck-Travemünde, Germany in 1959. Becker is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine. His first publication Under the Nordic Light (2005) was nominated for the Rencontres D’Arles Book award. He has been nominated twice for the Prix Pictet award in both 2008 and 2012. His work has been exhibited internationally in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.