Anne-Karin Furunes is a Norwegian painter known for her works employing perforation technique. Based on photographs, these pieces have a black or white canvas perforated by the artist in imitation of the screen of a photograph. On the one hand, Furunes’s works are paintings dwelling in light, while on the other hand they express the authenticity and intensity of early beautiful monochrome photographs.
Her subtly pixilated images of particular people and sites reflect the artist’s concern with memory, history, and the nature of photographic reality.
For this exhibition, Furunes has drawn upon photographs of anonymous men and women discovered in found albums in a Swedish archive devoted to now-discredited notions of categorizing people by race, ethnicity, and mental capacity. Among the images in the archive are subjects of a fifty-year covert program conducted by the Swedish government (and only exposed in the 1970s), whose mission was the forced sterilization of those labeled, “imbecile”, “deviant”, or “a burden to society.” By presenting faces from the archive, Furunes rescues them from a hidden bureaucratic system, restoring a sense of respect for their human dignity. In the artist’s words, “pictures become portraits.”