Steen Sundland

In and out of fashion

Mar 26 - June 30, 2022
Det Kongelig Teaters Kunstforening

This presentation contains a curated selection of images from the artist’s decades spanning career in fashion and portraiture.
A recurring theme in his fashion work is the cinematic exploration of the darker side of money, power and sex in modern society, often shown in exotic locations.
Steen Sundland: Crash #1, NYC, 2006 was part of a fashion editorial of more than 10 images inspired by JG Ballard’s book Crash (adapted by David Cronenberg in 1996), an investigation of the human fascination with death and the tendency to eroticize danger.
The Secretary #5, Berlin, 2007 was inspired by the 2002 movie about a young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, who is hired as a secretary by a demanding lawyer. Soon their employer-employee relationship turns sexual and sadomasochistic.
Copan #3, San Paolo, 2005, an homage to Oscar Niemeyer, was shot on the roof top and fire escapes of Niemeyer´s 42 story building Edifício Copan in San Polo.
Sundland´s portraiture work investigates and interprets the immediate connection and intimate collaboration between strangers, the photographer and his model. Always looking for the in-between moments and imperfect beauty that is far more interesting than posed selfware perfection, no matter whether his subject is a celebrity or a stranger on the street, his work captures the mood and personality of his model and the times.

About the artist

Steen Sundland is known for a gritty take on fashion portraits, blurring the lines between fashion and fine art.
Steen build his first darkroom at the age of 13 and did his first exhibition at age 14 with pictures of his punk friends in the local camera store. After graduating from the Photographic School of Copenhagen,Steen moved to NYC to pursue a career in fashion an portrait photography. He has shot numerous celebrities, including Scarlett Johanson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, and worked with publications such as French Vogue, Vanity Fair, ID, Interview Magazine, W, Numero, Rolling Stone and Muse.
Currently Steen is dividing his time between The Artist Edition book publishing and gallery he co-founded in 2020 and his personal fine art work.

Steen Sundland, Snake boy, Pennsylvania, 2002, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 370 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

Sundland´s portraiture work investigates and interprets the immediate connection and intimate collaboration between strangers, the photographer and his model.

Steen Sundland, Chemical Brothers, NYC, 1997 pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 370 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

The portrait of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons was created on a rainy day in the streets of downtown Manhattan. It was the day after their concert and the duo hardly spoke as we walked from one location to the next. Originally shot for Rolling Stone Magazine and also used for their second album Dig Your Own Hole.

Steen Sundland, Milla Jovovich, NYC, 1994,  pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 370 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

Mila had just moved to NYC, she had an amzing energy - she was used to the camera, after all she had been a star since her early childhood. The opening image was created while we where hanging out on the set smoking cigarrettes breaking the static atmosphere of the studio.

Steen Sundland, Macy Gray, Los Angeles, 1996, pigment on paper, size 400 × 400 mm – image 300 x 298 –  paper Size 300 × 300 mm, image 250 x 249 mm

Soul singer Macy Gray shot for her album sleeve on location in downtown Los Angeles. Unlike today, it was quite a gritty scene.

Steen Sundland, Copan #3, San Paolo, 2005, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 370 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

Urban landscapes and dystopic scenery has fascinated me throughout my adult life. In Sao Paolo, the term “urban jungle” takes on a whole new meaning of it’s own skyscrabers have replaced the rain forests, and lakes have been replaced by swimmingpools for those who can afford it.

Steen Sundland, The Secretary #5, Berlin, 2005, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 370 x 460 mm – paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

An interpretation of the 2002 film of the same title. A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, is hired as a secretary by a demanding lawyer. Soon their employer-employee relationship turns sexual and sadomasochistic.

Steen Sundland, Crash #1, NYC, 2006, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 373 x 460 mm – paper Size 300 × 400 mm , image 250 x 300 mm

Inspired by JG Ballard’s book Crash, and shot in an eerie parking garage in the Bronx, I wanted to give a color interpretation of Film Noir. The cold neon lighting desaturates the colors and favors a monochrone look, thus highlighting the contrast of living flesh and manufactered steel.

Steen Sundland, Isabella Rossellini, NYC, 1994, pigment on paper, size 400 × 500 mm, image 300 x 396 mm – paper Size 300 × 400 mm , image 226 x 300 mm

Isabella Rossellini, NYC, 1994, Detour Magazine I was fascinated with Isabella’s mouth, so I knew I wanted to capture a closeup of her lips. She always had a certain mystique to her - something untold.

Steen Sundland, Isabella Rossellini, NYC, 1994, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 400 x 580 mm – paper Size 300 × 400 mm , image 204 x 300 mm

Isabella Rossellini, NYC, 1994, Detour Magazine Little Italy outside the studio.

Steen Sundland, Scarlett Johansson #3, Brooklyn, 2003, pigment on paper

Steen Sundland, Scarlett Johansson #3, Brooklyn, 2003, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 373 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

Steen Sundland, Scarlett Johansson #1, Brooklyn, 2003, pigment on paper

Steen Sundland, Scarlett Johansson #1, Brooklyn, 2003, pigment on paper, size 420 × 594 mm, image 373 x 460 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 250 x 300 mm

I photographed Scarlett in my Brooklyn studio for the movie Lost in Translation.

Gotham City, Mid Town Skyline, NYC, 1999

Steen Sundland, Gotham City, Mid Town Skyline, NYC, 1999, pigment on paper, size 400 × 500 mm, image 400 x 500 mm –  paper Size 300 × 400 mm, image 300 x 400 mm

The gloomy New York skyline has always intrigued me. It has been interpreted numerous times in popular culture - just think of Blade Runner and Batman. To me, the urban landscape comes of as promising yet sinister - I’m curious of the stories of the many people who live close together, but still seem to be so distanced from each other.

Steen Sundland

Det Kongelig Teaters Kunstforening

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