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New Online Exhibition: Displacement + What Remains by Krista Svalbonas

photo-eye Gallery New Online Exhibition: Displacement + What Remains by Krista Svalbonas Jovi Esquivel photo-eye Gallery is pleased to announce a new Online Exhibition that features work by artist Krista Svalbonas.

Krista Svalbonas, Geislingen, 2022, Layered Laser Cut Pigment Ink Print, 14x21", Edition of 2, $2,800

Krista Svalbonas
Displacement + What Remains
Opening Online: March 9, 2023
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photo-eye Gallery is pleased to announce a new online exhibition Displacement + What Remains by artist Krista Svalbonas. This unique exhibition includes work from two concurrent bodies of work featuring laser-cut pigment ink prints. Included in the collection is a fifteen-minute virtual walk-through with the artist, the latest episode of photo-eye Conversations.

Krista Svalbonas is driven by the ideas of home and dislocation due to her personal experience as a child of immigrant parents — who came to the United States as refugees after spending five years in displaced person camps in Germany following World War II. Her parents' story is just one example of many uprooted peoples whose homes were disrupted by political agendas beyond their control. In an effort to understand and honor her family's struggles, Svalbonas embarked on a journey to retrace and reimagine their history. 

Krista Svalbonas, Lauingen, 2022, Laser Cut Pigment Print, 14x21", Edition of 2, $2,800

Krista Svalbonas, Braunschweig I, 2019, Laser Cut Pigment Print, 14x21", Edition of 2, $2,500 

Through extensive archival research, Svalbonas was able to locate former displaced-person camps in Germany and photographed many of the buildings. These structures were impersonal and appropriated from other civilian and military uses to house thousands of postwar refugees, including Svalbonas' parents. While searching for information on the location of these camps, Svalbonas came across plea letters from refugees seeking asylum. To bring these buildings to life and pay homage to the people that lived in them, Svalbonas merged her photographs with archived copies of plea letters sent by Baltic refugees to the governments of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In Displacement, Svalbonas used a process of burning with a laser cutter to overlay the painful account of these refugees onto her photographs to create composite images that reflect her experience and the fading memories of her parents' generation.

Detail of Laser Cut Print.

Detail of Laser Cut Print.

While shooting Displacement in Germany, Svalbonas was drawn to the imposing Soviet Architecture, built during the Soviet occupation, in the Baltic region, and began photographing those buildings as well. Drawing inspiration from Displacement, she began incorporating traditional folk art patterns found in Baltic textiles as a visual representation of the people native to the area. The motifs, such as the sun, water and other elements of the natural world, were prominently featured in items like tablecloths and mittens, demonstrating the lasting influence of traditional arts and crafts. Using a laser to cut the textile pattern directly onto her black-and-white photographs of the imposing buildings, in What Remains Svalbonas explores how folk art can serve as a form of defiance against Soviet occupiers.   

The final prints in What Remains, serve as a reminder of the political significance of folk arts, especially during times of occupation and repression. In many cases, practicing traditional crafts was seen as an act of political resistance, as it allowed people to maintain their cultural identity and traditions in the face of outside pressure. By including references to the Soviet occupation in her photographs, Krista is reminding us of the power of art and culture to resist oppression and preserve our heritage. 

This exhibition of photographs is a beautiful and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection between art, culture and history. By combining letters, stories and traditional crafts with laser-cut photographs, she is creating a visual language that speaks to the beauty and significance of a shared heritage. 

Krista Svalbonas, What Remains II, 2021, Layered Laser Cut Pigment Prints, 23½x16½, Edition of 2, $3,250

Krista Svalbonas, What Remains XIII, 2022, Laser Cut Pigment Print, 32x22", Edition of 2, $4,600

If you are in Santa Fe, please stop by during gallery hours
to see What Remains II and What Remains III.

(Two prints from the exhibition Displacement + What Remains)

Krista Svalbonas, What Remains II & What Remains III, in the photo-eye Gallery

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Krista Svalbonas holds a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her work has been exhibited at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and the ISE Cultural Foundation in New York. Her work has been collected by the Cesis Art Museum in Latvia, the Woodmere Art Museum, and Temple University in Philadelphia. Recent awards include a CPA Artist Grant (2022), Baumanis Creative Projects Grant (2020), and a Bemis Fellowship (2015) among others. in 2022, Svalbonas will have a solo exhibition of her Displacement series at the Copenhagen Photography Festival in Denmark and the Museum of Photography in Talin, Estonia.
Svalbonas is an Associate Professor of Photography at St. Joseph's University. She lives and works in Philadelphia.


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If you are in Santa Fe, please stop by during gallery hours or schedule a visit HERE.

For more information, and to reserve one of these unique works, please contact
Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Jovi Esquivel

You may also call us at (505) 988- 5152 x202

photo-eye Gallery

1300 Rufina Circle, Unit A3, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Tuesady– Saturday, from 10am– 5:30pm