Okurimono by Christian Houge
“Since I started photographing in 1994, I’ve explored what lies within Man and that which is innately difficult to grasp. Man’s identity never ceases to fascinate me. My artwork is reflected through an internal process conveyed in an external expression through photography and film. I often invite the viewer to explore his own thoughts on some of the surviving taboos of our time. The projects are an exploration of topics including old age, death and sexual identity, where I find Mans longing for something larger than him/herself to be a recurring theme. At the moment I am working on two independent projects simultaneously. `Moksha` in India [2007-2010]; is the act of release from the continuous cycle of birth, death & rebirth. This project explores the dying process, and one of the last questions Man has yet to pinpoint, where the human condition and the individual’s belief is the main focal point. `Okurimono` in Japan is defined as `that which is in-between`, and encompasses a project which has evolved through five trips to Japan. The images revolve around dreams, vulnerability, darkness and brutal truths. In these four years of work I have gone further and further beyond my own comfort zone in the quest of truths. Truths that are troubling and difficult to be confronted with for many souls.
The first part of the project focuses on Japanese sub-culture, the Harajuku and their own search for a unique expression. Where dissonance between object and Man, in architecture and nature, is a recurring theme.
In the second part of the project I explore various expressions of sexual identity. Our digital society is drained of wonderment and any sense of the mysticism. Many aspire this in their everyday lives. The `okamas`- the transsexual `new halves` of Tokyo’s underground live out their complex truths in ritualized isolation. Many might see this as a threat to conventional gender categorizations, which substantiates the basis of our society. Reality and dreams, the ritualistic and play blend, in which the frail parameters between the known and the unknown dissolve. The film gives the project an extra dimension for the senses, where experimental and ritual inspired settings reveal truths between pleasure and discomfort.”
Christian Houge (1972) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. His work has been exhibited at Paris Photo, Photo London and Art Basel, as well as solo shows in London, Oslo, New York and San Fransisco. Houges latest solo show was ‘Arctic Technology’ at Hosfelt Gallery in San Fransisco in march 2009. His photographs have been commissioned by the Norwegian Defence Ministry, Museum of Nevada, and large private collectors, and auctioned at Sotherby’s in London. Houge is involved in several humanitarian projects, and has recieved several arts grants from the Norwegian Artists Fund. He participated in the group-show ‘AntArctica’ at Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum in September 2009, and he has been invited back to Haugar in september 2010, to show ‘Moksha’ – a new video installation.
Houges most recent body of work; ‘Okurimono’ is now on show for the first time at the ‘7th Lane’ exhibition in Oslo, by ellen-k.