MARC STRAUS is pleased to present “Mike,” its third exhibition of photographs by Thomas Bangsted. Bangsted’s images typically require up to three years to complete. These aggregations of numerous exposures extend the conventional limits of photography.
In the black and white photographs, Bangsted explores how Modernism collaborates with war through Dazzle camouflage, which was applied to the allied fleet of war ships during World War l and II. Implemented as a form of visual trickery to thwart U boats, these geometric patterns resemble formal modernist canvases.
Bangsted photographed the remaining naval fleet from the two World Wars. These ships of course no longer are surfaced with camouflage and using historic archives, Bangsted meticulously recreates these Dazzle themes resulting in an exquisite image which slyly comments on the authentic and invented, and history versus memory.
WHO IS MIKE
SS Coeur d’Alene (under Refit for Troop Transport ) beautifully exemplifies Bangsted’s working process. Bangsted found this over 100 year-old Edwardian steamship on its last trip under tow to Canada. This image depicts a scene that might be in 1918. Every element of this image is authentic to its alleged time period. In the foreground is a small wooden rowboat and further back, another with a tiny sail.
Bangsted searched for a handmade wood rowboat matching those used 100 years ago and in Michigan found Mike. Mike is not only the builder of these meticulously crafted dinghies but he is also in the image, dressed in period clothes with an early 20th century fishing pole at the ready. He is also sitting in the small sail boat in the middle ground of the photograph. Bangsted hired him to drive 5 ½ hours and set his boat in the waters near the steamship so that the perspective would be perfect. It is with such details that Thomas Bangsted creates rich visual images laden with narrative.
Thomas Bangsted received his MFA in photography from Yale University in 2007. He has had numerous solo shows in Denmark including Galleri Tom Christoffersen, Galleri Hornbaek, and SPARK. Group exhibitions include The Bronx Museum, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Danzinger Projects, and The Prague Biennial.