Open Gate Hvasser
- Artist: Dag Alveng
- Creation date: 1979/2001
- Object type: Photograph
Dag Alveng’s training at Trent Polytechnic in 1988. Purchased 1968 Nottingham in 1976–77 was decisive for his development as a photographer. It was there that he became acquainted with the American photographer Lewis Baltz, who had participated in the pivotal “New Topographics” exhibition in 1975 in New York alongside such luminaries as Robert Adams and Bernd & Hilla Becher. The exhibition referred to the documentary, topographical tradition, typified by a reserved, down-to-earth style that eschewed personal interpretations and feelings. Such photography sought rather to capture images in as detached and neutral a way as possible. Alveng developed his own visual idiom in line with this tradition, as evinced by the documentary nature of the images from everyday life.
Alveng worked on the “Summer Light” series from the idyllic Norwegian islets of Hvasser and Koster for more than twenty years. The scene captured in Open Gate Hvasser 1979 is by no means spectacular, showing as it does an open wire gate, a field overgrown with grass, and bushes in the background in a dry summer landscape. Besides the more conceptual influence from Lewis Baltz, Alveng also drew inspiration from American “straight photography”, with its eye for detail and large depth of field. Unlike such photography, however, Alveng interprets the intense summer light of the North with an emphasis on reproducing the light, to the degree that the details are nearly erased. The local character is thereby downplayed, allowing the light itself to become the prevailing element in the picture.
The series was first exhibited as an independent project in 1988, before being expanded later on.