Horsing Around At Fotografiska

©Ohne Title Untitled Alexandra Vogt

We go way back, horse and man. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and since then we have struck up quite a relationship. This multifaceted and fascinating partnership has been depicted for almost as long as that, going back to pre-historic cave paintings.

Fotografiska’s group exhibition Like a Horse consists of work from 30 photographers with the horse as the common denominator. “With great respect and stringency, Like a Horse brings to the fore the animal and the symbolical aspects of the horse. Humour shares the stage with sensuality, the workaday with glamour and power, all executed with great artistic relevance”, says Pauline Benthede, Exhibition Manager at Fotografiska.

The exhibition is curated by New York-based Sophie Mörner, photographer, publisher and avid rider. For the tenth anniversary of her photo art publication Capricious she produced High Tails – an eclectic volume of photography celebrating horses – so she seems to have quite an obsession with horses in photo art. She explains her thoughts on the exhibition: “The culture of equestrianism and horse sports is often vilified. It’s interesting to ponder how this is connected to the fact that it’s a phenomenon that is related to women and girls. I think of this exhibition as a reflection of Western prejudices about ‘the sport for privileged girls’, which I find a belittling and narrow view on the life and work of the contemporary horse. In most parts of the world, the horse is still of vital importance as a means of transportation and as a working animal. I hope that the selection of images can widen the perspective and direct attention towards the broader context”.

The exhibition includes touching, provocative, educational and above all fascinating photographs, video works and installations. Well-known international photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle and Charlotte Gyllenhammar rub shoulders with up-and-coming Swedish video and photography artists, including Erika Larsen and Theresia Viska.

What’s your personal relationship with horses?

Horses are my biggest passion in life, it’s where I feel at home.

As the tenth anniversary of your publication Capricious you produced High Tails – an eclectic volume of photography celebrating horses – you seem to have quite an obsession with horses in photo art.

I wouldn’t call it obsession, it’s more like a natural thing to make our anniversary book around horses. Everyone that knows me knows about my heart for horses so no one was surprised. That aside, people often use horses in art and photography, it carries a lot of symbolism.

How did this Like a Horse project (an exhibition, a book etc.) come about? And why do you think it will strike a chord with Stockholmers?

Fotografiska saw High Tails and were excited about a possible exhibition. I am also part of the curatorial board since many years so it’s an idea that developed in the group. The catalog for the show is a separate thing. I think Stockholmers will be surprised but also excited. It is a very different take on horse photography…

Like A Horse opens at Fotografiska on May 19

Words: Peter Steen-Christensen