|Wrong, Photographs by Asger Carlsen. |
Published by Morel Books, 2010.
Reviewed by Jonathan Blaustein
Asger Carlsen Wrong
Photographs by Asger Carlsen.
Morel Books, 2010. Hardbound. 88 pp., Duotone illustrations throughout, 8-1/2x8-1/2".
There's something about a good sci-fi movie that really sticks in your head -- especially if you see it during your formative years. I saw Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall in the theaters, so I must have been about 15 at the time. There were certain visuals in that film, ie. the three-boobed prostitute, that I can imagine at will all these years later. It just seemed so real, as far as futuristic visions go. Sometimes, an artist just gets it right on a conscious and subconscious level. And having spent some time with Wrong, by Asger Carlsen, I'm willing to ascribe such imaginative success in this case. It's a terrific book on multiple levels, and I'm glad I get to keep this copy.
Carlsen has taken the "of his time" wizardry of Jerry Uelsmann and brought it into the digi-verse, black and white and kooky as ever. I know it's not crazy original to make the comparison, as everyone who creates bizarre, surreal composites must resent the immediacy of the thought. But as a child of the computer age, I've never been able to grasp the sense of wonder people must have had when they first saw a good version of Uelsmann's work. That "I know it's not real, but it looks like it" feeling is hard to come by these days.
I suppose some might find these images creepy or disturbing. I'd understand if they did, but I practically giggled. They're funny in an absurd way, and yet the craftsmanship leaves not doubt as to the artist's seriousness. Just a great piece of work. Well worth the investment.—Jonathan Blaustein
Jonathan Blaustein is a photographer and writer based in Taos, NM. His work resides in several major museum collections and has been exhibited widely in the United States. For more information, please visit www.jonathanblaustein.com.