Silvia Ghimbas on
Joakim Eskildsen’s “A world I can believe in”
The National Museum of Photography
22 May 2015 – 30 January 2016
(Text and photos by: Silvia Ghimbas)
To my mind, when looking at the title that Mr. Eskildsen has chosen for his exhibition, it became rather obvious that I was about to see “yet another” series of photographs of social matters. It wasn’t a problem at all, since I usually enjoy this type of photography, but at the same time, this didn’t stop me to involuntarily have certain expectations about the exhibition.
I was lucky enough to be overly surprised, in the most positive manner. When entering the gallery, just a few glimpses made it incredibly difficult for me to decide where exactly I would like to start; there were too many amazing photographs that immediately caught my eyes. The exhibition is divided into several sections, each of them displaying projects the artist has worked or is still working on. By this I mean that you are introduced to everything from contact sheets, work copies, prints and even sketch books. Moreover, you can listen to interviews with the photographer. This rare encounter guides the viewer through the whole process of creating a photographic book (which is considered by Eskildsen the “perfect form of presentation”), offering impressive insights and at the same time an intimacy that allows for a better grasp of the narrative behind the still frames.
The artist takes viewers in a fascinating journey. By revealing places such as Northern Europe, a fishing community in Portugal, a South Africa that had just elected Mandela, another Europe, but that of the Roma community, an unseen side of America, Cuba and even his own home, Eskildsen invites us to acknowledge that the world surrounding us is incredibly complex. People in different parts of the world live such different lives that sometimes even if we are consciously aware of this fact, when entering “A world I can believe in” it may come as a shock. The images are powerful, clever and I like to think that they also underline a very subtle and intelligent sense of humour. Even though most images touch on problematic aspects of the world such as poverty or ecologically disastrous conditions, it is impressive how the photographer managed to keep an optimistic perspective and outline the beauty of mankind.