Emma Hartvig is an artist who works in photography. Precise and poetic, her practice elucidates themes of womanhood, performance and desire – and, with a quiet but powerful perceptiveness, the points at which those themes intersect.
Meticulous and intuitive in her approach, the artist draws scenes from the interactions between different figures, pinpointing moments of stillness, tension, intimacy or love in an assemblage of moving parts. Consequently, her photographs are at once dynamic and tranquil, compelling and cinematic. The possibility of conjuring emotion and story from a gesture, movement or scene underpins every image she makes; in a team of synchronized swimmers or a troupe of dancers, she identifies affinity and drama, spectacle and silence. Through her lens, the body is a moving sculpture, a vessel to be filled with ideas and emotions.
Since starting her own family a couple of years ago, these stories have often been connected to motherhood; she photographs herself with her children, and other women with theirs. But in her work, this is a concept which expands beyond the traditional mother-child relationship, to comprise intimacy, sensuality, nature, strength and hope. Her works interrogate the emotional evolution which accompanies the process of becoming a mother; a time of raw, unfiltered feeling; a transformation of sexuality and the relationship with the self; and a new respect for the physical body, in all of its strength, exhaustion and beauty. In photographing collected groups of mothers, she invites the viewer to step into an almost mythical alternate world – one which is omnipresent, strange, performative and personal.
The natural world has a strong presence in her work – whether water, rocky outcrops, thick forests or the soft light which illuminates her compositions. Within this simple but carefully created framework, she choreographs feelings - her preoccupation is with finding a perfect approach to documenting imperfections.
Emma Hartvig was born and raised in a coastal town in Sweden. She studied Photography at the University of the Arts, London, and has since lived in Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen, before settling in Vienna, where she is currently based. Her work has been published in the Hatje Cantz Verlag-published The Swimming Pool in Photography and Rizzoli’s Pools.
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