Asger Carlsen

Jun 12, 2012

‘Asger Carlsen born 1973 in Denmark. Lives and works in New York, NY.’ These are the words you see when you click the ‘info’ tab on Asger Carlsen’s website. It’s a short, sharp description that does not assign the Dane any profession. Carlsen is often described as a photographer. If you ask him to label himself, though, he will say he’s a material collector. Of his work, he says it is actually very little about the photographing process, and more about the “relentless” editing.

Between 1991 and 1996, Carlsen worked as a photographer specializing in pure depictions of crime scenes. He soon discovered that he used his camera in an unexpected and unconventional way. In 2006, he began layering images on top of one another – for example, to create odd-looking faces with many eyes. The resulting images shocked even himself, and he did not show the work to anyone. Today, however, the 38-year-old has come to terms with his unusual techniques. Carlsen is well known for deconstructions that question both the meaning of photography as well as the prevailing notions of normality and beauty. He is inspired by surrealism and the works of painter Francis Bacon.

In Carlsen’s best known series, Wrong, he edits and distorts everyday scenes. What looks familiar at first quickly becomes alien. People’s reactions range from strong dislike to admiration. Even models for his photography have no idea what they will end up looking like. Fortunately, most are okay with the result. But there was one man who commented on Facebook that he did not necessarily need to see obese people like this.

Carlsen dares to bend traditional connotations of photography. The Düsseldorf-based venue NRW-Forum recently showed the exhibition The Start of Art Photography, where it listed Asger Carlsen as one of the photographers likely to have the greatest say in the future.

Read the full interview in the printed issue of Wertical.

Release: 2014.

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