Exhibitions

Adam Ekberg (2011)

Artists

Adam Ekberg

Chicago Tribune by Lori Waxman

What do objects do when not being put to practical use? Flashlights hold drinking contests and play staring games. Balloons throw parties and go racing down suburban streets.

At least that’s how it seems in the photographs of Adam Ekberg, who appears to have a knack for sneaking up on and capturing objects in action. He finds them out of the way, in Tampa, Fla., where he lives part time on a suburban street, and in the woods of northern Vermont, where he sometimes stays in the outbuilding of a friend’s farm.

What’s slightly magical about the subjects of Ekberg’s images is their activeness. A lone flashlight gazes luminously at itself in a mirror, sending reflections bouncing from one surface to another to another. (Less enchanting, because it’s entirely boorish, are the results when two flashlights get together. They like to drink in company and then just stare unblinking at each other until their batteries run down. If they were two grizzly men instead of two hand-held lanterns, the photo wouldn’t have been worth taking at all.)

Also in these marginal places lurks evidence of fairy activity. How else to explain a fiery rope burning between two trees, and strings of colored lights dancing across a placid stream?

Maybe there aren’t really any fairies at all. Maybe the lights are just having a party for themselves. As for the fire, well, I suppose it proves the possibility that Ekberg set it all up for the camera. But why suspend disbelief?

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