Joakim Eneroth, Swedish Red

JTF (just the facts): Published in 2013 by Steidl_GUN (here). Clothbound, 50 pages, with 32 color photographs. Aside from a short introductory text, there are no essays included. (Spread shots below.)

Comments/Context: Joakim Eneroth’s squared up photographs of Swedish houses and buildings decked out in classic red paint and white trim have the initial look of a rigorous and methodical Becher typology, albeit with a Scandinavian flavor. When seen in sequence, the images highlight the tiny variations in the flattened built forms almost immediately: a spectrum of angled roof lines (some equilateral, others shorter on one side) and perfect striated rectangles offset by small chimneys. The structures have been reduced to simple pared down geometries, resulting in an architectural sameness that seems to have become surprisingly pervasive.

What’s altogether unexpected about these pictures is that a more sustained look at them uncovers an undercurrent of unlikely menace. Massive uniform walls face the street, unblemished by even a single window; neatly trimmed hedges stand guard in front of the facades, adding another layer of defensive protection. The more you look at these perfect buildings, the more surreal they start to appear, closed off and isolated, without any visible way to enter. The quaint openness of the cheery red starts to look blocked off, private, and more than a little unwelcoming, especially during the grim sunset hours in the depths of winter.

I like the tug between conceptual rigidity and psychological probing that Eneroth has set up in this series. His photographs document the “what” of these particularly recognizable buildings, and also consider the quieter, and perhaps more complicated question of “why”.

Collector’s POV: Joakim Eneroth is represented by Gallery Christian Larsen in Stockholm (here). Eneroth’s work has little secondary market history, so gallery retail remains the best option for those collectors interested in following up.

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