ELSEWHERE – CHOKI LINDBERG at the BART Gallery in Amsterdam

Desolation and Deceit and the Inquiry upon Reality

There is something alluring in the beholding of abandoned spaces that have once housed so much life. Places created with the comfort of man in mind, yet, in his neglect of its preservation, finds itself returned to its rightful owner, as nature occupies once again, central stage.

The photographs of Harlem based artist, Choki Lindberg, reflect this process of redemption through its depiction of place, often presented in a state of decay, populated by various subjects arranged in disarray, none of which human. Each photograph embodies a story of its own and one cannot help but wonder of the events that have led to their disorderly state, yet finds their contemplation interrupted as they come to notice a certain serenity in the arrangement, a rational coherence uncharacteristic of our notions of imperfection.

“Elsewhere” returns its audience to a sensibility lost with the imposition of standardization emblematic of modernity. As one takes in the beauty within desolation, they find themselves returned to a more essential state, as if they had known all along, that the structures built to ensure comfort and safety to be foreign to our fundamental nature, with their removal alone as a path to peace.

Lindberg herself seems to encourage this inquiry, as a closer scrutiny reveals a certain strangeness in the contours and texture of the objects within the scenery. In fact, one will come to notice a certain artificiality, as the photographs are ultimately a representation of small scale sets built by the artist’s very own hands. As such, behind every dented wall and broken accessory lies a certain intentionality, an organized chaos that seeks to speak through deceit.

“There is so much freedom to be found within these confines,” the artist asserts. Each set is a narrative on its own, an attempt to re-capture a memory. They present an inherent tension between man’s desire for creation and control, and a willingness to let go in acknowledgement of his own unknowing, and allow for external forces to shape his fate.

In the end, Lindberg’s photographs reflect a subconscious need to return to a more natural space, a way of life that finds acceptance of impermanence and disarray, riding along the flow of life, fully aware of that which he cannot change. They make us question our perception of reality and significance of space, and highlight the importance of art as an consolation for the futile redemption of a past state.    Elaine Zheng   23rd June 2019