All content © Axel Antas unless otherwise stated.

Axel Antas - selected works

417.5 ppm

30.9.2023 – 22.10.2023
Galleria Heino

In his new work, Axel Antas creates a visual counterpart of written poetry. He deals with blankness in a variety of different ways, depicting it literally but also daringly inviting it into the gallery space. The artworks and their titles may at first glance seem inert and rigid, but the first impression quickly fades away as one contemplates Antas’s multifaceted practice. His works unveil the fact that the terms passivity and slowness are human constructions, and deeply relative ones at that.

The title of the exhibition, 417.5ppm, is one of pure data: this is the amount of carbon dioxide in the air of Helsinki, as measured in the early autumn of 2023. Throughout the entire show, Antas lets facts speak for themselves and allows for the viewer to independently reflect upon them.

Subtle allusion to different perceptions of time consistently recurs in Antas’s films and photographs. In his artistic process, the artist combines analogue and digital methods in a way that makes the past overlap with the future. The film Still Life (Inertia Geometry) is shot on black and white 16mm film – a format introduced exactly a century ago – but is here shown as a digital copy, projected by a silently running modern machine. The exhibition’s second film, Diurnal Landscape, is the result of the artist’s careful 3D-scans of wild nature, which turns reality into contemporary animation. Last but not least, the photographs from the series Compound Ecology show stark white 3D-prints of cut flowers, based on photographs taken over the course of many days. These digital sculptures are carefully documented by Antas in a way that pay homage to the botanical studies of the 17th century.

Haptic Perception (Breath), 2023
125 x 98 cm
Edition of 3
Still life (Inertia Geometry), 2023
16mm transferred to digital video 2K, no sound
18 min
Edition of 3

In his art, Antas shows us how anthropocentric our own perception of time is. In Diurnal Landscape he makes a day last for the entirety of the exhibition. The forest in the film is hit by the first rays of morning light as 417.5ppm opens. Over the course of the show, the world within the film shifts according to its own internal clock. As 417.5ppm reaches its end in October, dusk will have fallen, darkness engulfing the digital forest.

The subjectivity of time is also touched upon in Still Life (Inertia Geometry) which depicts snails moving over perfectly geometrical objects in a studio. Their horns aid them in meticulously maneuvering the unfamiliar forms surrounding them. Seeing the tactile way in which the snails experience the world, one realises the fallacy of calling them slow. In nature a myriad of different senses of time can coexist. The only speed of life that us humans can judge is our own.

Helen Korpak
Helsinki, Septmeber 2023

Still life (Inertia geometry, arrangement I), 2023
Hand printed silver gelatin print
100 x 80 cm
Edition 3
Compound Ecology II, 2023
C-Print 187, 5 x 155,5 cm
Edition of3
Compound Ecology I, 2023
C-Print 187, 5 x 155,5 cm
Edition of3
Compound ecology (Still life with Tulip, caterpillar and chrysalis), 2023
90 x 73 cm
Compound Ecology (Still life with Tulip and caterpillar), 2023
90 x 73 cm

Diurnal Landscape, 2023
Real-time generated animation with sound
Duration 29.9. – 22.10.2023 / Specific for each showing

Artist, programmer and producer: Axel Antas
Programming: Sam Steer
Sound: Gordon Hempton

The work is a slow meditation of a digitised forest scene. The duration of this exhibition is linked to the works duration where the scene changes throughout. We can observe the landscape in morning light at the start of the exhibition. Towards the end of the exhibition the landscape goes towards nighttime where the scene is in total darkness where only a few outlines of trees can be seen. When the exhibition ends the landscape will be in darkness. Each visitor will have a different experience and the full film is only possible to grasp as an idea.

In contrast to the digital landscape we have a soundtrack that is based on real field recordings that changes for the duration of the film. The sound is by sound recording specialist Gordon Hempton who has worked on a project where he captures sound in natural environments that are void of any human created sounds. Thus the field recording is the sound from a forest without human presence, which links the uninhabited digital landscape with the sound.