Svarvargatan 2, SE-112 49 Stockholm +46 (0)8-651 84 26 MORE


The Drowned One
Lene Berg

The video The Drowned One takes its starting-point in an early photographic image, Le Noyé (The Downed One) by Hippolyte Bayard. The image appeared in Paris in 1840, just a few months after the Daguerrotype had been introduced to the world. It shows the photographer himself, Hippolyte Bayard, as a corpse at the morgue. On the backside of the image Bayard had added a rather sad text describing the reasons why he had decided to drown himself: While Daguerre had received both money and fame for his photographic invention, the Daguerroype, Bayard had got nothing for his efforts – even if he too had developed a way of fixing the image from a camera obscura to a piece of paper. The image of him at the morgue was a proof of this. But then you may ask: how difficult is it to shoot an image of yourself when you are already dead?

The sometimes sad and sometimes surprising story of Bayard’s image is interrupted by a series of detours, or associations, which seemingly deal with very different images and situations. What they all have in common is that they, like Bayard’s image, have to do with the paradoxical nature of photography, or rather with the paradoxes created by our tendency to confuse so-called photographs with the so-called truth. On one hand, it is about photography and some of the misunderstandings and confusions photographic images can create; on the other hand, it is about our belief in objectivity and genres like documentary.

Keywords Montage
Aspect ratio 1.33:1 (4:3)
Prod. format Generic SD-video
Duration 00:17:00
Language English
Color Color
Year 2008
Rent this work for public screenings

About the artist

Lene Berg

Lene Berg, born 1965, is a Norwegian film director and visual artist based in Berlin and Oslo. Her main media is film and moving image, but her artistic praxis also includes installation, collage, photography, and text; and she has produced a number of projects in public space. She studied film at Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm and has directed four independently produced feature films as well as a number of short films and mixed-media artworks and installations for galleries, museums, and public spaces.  Berg’s autobiographical film False Belief  premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019 and was nominated for the Amnesty and Teddy Award. She represented Norway in the 55th Venice Biennale with the film Dirty Young Loose (2013). In 2022 she did the Festival Exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, which is considered the most important solo presentation of a Norwegian artist in the country. In 2023 she published her first novel, Fra far/From father at Kolon.

Berg’s work has been shown at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter; Konsthall C, Stockholm; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Art in General, New York. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions and biennales such as Manifesta; the Biennale of Sydney; the Taipei Biennial; Contour Mechelen and Transmediale Berlin.