Modern art movements such as Futuris,  Cubism and Baue Reiter may indeed have contributed to the development of military camouflage.  Many painters from the early 20th century explored breaking up and putting out of place the figurativeness that had dominated art up until this point.  Many artists from these aforementioned movements where great theorists on colors, and their knowledge where later exploited for warfare. Nature´s idea of protective coloring was first applied as camouflage for battledresses in the 19th century. Inspiration and influences have moved back and forth from war to art and art to war for centuries. And military camouflage patterns are from time to time in vogue, and seen in art as well as fashion over the last 50 years.

Breaking up the human form for blending in with greenish woodland, brownish pine forest ground, grayish stone and mossy landscape are all seen here in the series Eyes as Big as Plates by Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen. Camouflage offer to conceal by protective coloring and substance.  All this and more can be read into the work.  The portrayed in the image can also be perceived wearing a chameleon suit. The elderly person stand out as a visual enhancement, with outstanding blending qualities. Luckily this illusion of invisibility is not perfect.  We live in a society where the focus stay on youth and ignore old age. These images combine assets of youthfulness and old age.  They balance on one side stability and calmative, but at the same time they express infinite energy as we know it from nature.  We get exposed to a sense of something timeless, but yet again something exploratory and inventive. This duality gives the work it´s edge.

Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen photographic portraits follow a longstanding tradition in the art, when we see the portrayed ´s placement in the frame and pose struck. Each image capture a solitary figure in a divergent landscape; specifying no time, encouraging universality. This merge of a figure into the terrain acknowledge our belonging. We feel right!

By Malin Barth


Eyes as Big as Plates # Bengt II © Karoline Hjorth Riitta Ikonen 

Eyes as Big as Plates # Agnes II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
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