Trine Søndergaard: WORKS

Landscapes and mirrors of recollection, hushed internal spaces, and women’s tasks and roles through history. The photographs in Trine Søndergaard’s exhibition WORKS allow us to see the invisible.

The exhibition WORKS presents Trine Søndergaard’s long spanning photographic exploration of depicting the invisible. Sight and gaze are principal themes in Søndergaard’s work. She explores portrait photography as a genre, but her objective is not to present us with the truth about an individual. Instead, she insistently poses questions about how the depiction of a person’s appearance is capable of both communicating and hiding an inner life.

Questions such as these intertwine themselves in Søndergaard’s interest in women’s historical traditional dress – a common subject in her photography. Through history, traditional dress has had specific work-related or social functions; it aimed to protect women from the elements, or signal their social class to the rest of the world. The women in Søndergaard’s portraits are always averting their gaze, and the eye contact that we, cannot obtain from them compels us to look closer. Moreover, sight and gaze are also central to Sondergaard’s applied methodology in the majority of her projects. She employs a circular pictorial poeticism in which motifs and themes from earlier works recur and reveal new connections to the audience.

The ordinary and the ceremonious

In her work, Trine Søndergaard’s starting point is documentary and straight photography. However, her use of reduction and repetition transforms the work into a kind of conceptual photography, and the dialogue with art history is always present in her oeuvre. The ordinary and the ceremonious are presented equally, and the undercurrents of melancholy, loss and the image as a condition transcending the verbal also characterize her work.

The majority of Trine Søndergaard’s workss comes in to being in the closed universe of the photo studio where the artist plays the part of both photographer and director. At the samtime, the photograph is the result of what happens in the encounter between two people: the photographer and her model. In a way, the work materializes through a playful spirit, perfectly balanced between precision and spontaneity, the planned and the accidental. The outcome is a piece of focused photographic poetry that challenges the classification of photography as a practice of record keeping.

International breakthrough

The exhibition WORKS displays photography from 2005-2021. The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Gothenburg Museum of Art.

Trine Søndergaard was born in 1972 in Denmark, and she lives and works in Copenhagen. She has become one of the Nordic countries’ most important artists and one of the few Danish photographers who has received international recognition. She made her debut in the 1990s, and since then, the interest in her work has been on a steady incline. Sondergaard has received the prestigious August Renger Patzsch Award, published award-winning books, and held exhibitions at home and abroad. Her work is represented in a number of international museums. The Danish Royal Library owns a large collection of her pieces in The National Collection of Photography.

Installation views from Den Sorte Diamant.


  • Den Sorte Diamant
  • Christians Brygge 8
    1219 København K
  • Sep. 16, 2021 – Jan. 29, 2022

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