Trine Søndergaard, Monochrome Portrait #5, 2009, digital C-print, 60 x 60 cm
Photographic portraits are not usually monochrome. They can be in black and white or in colour. But with Trine Søndergaard's Monochrome Portraits each portrait is focused on one single colour. The portrait and frame is a finely balanced object, where a minimalist expression mixes with the different appearance of every human being.
None of the monochrome works are identical in colour. Each person has his or her own colour - an uncertain shade of turquoise, brown, violet, etc., that continues in the surrounding frame, which is coloured by hand. The colours are not included in any colour scheme and have no default names.
In Søndergaard's portraits the space that is entirely our own is being explored; when we do not interact or try to control our expressions. The individual is put at the centre of a search into visual spaces turned away, silent and evasive. The colour layer enhances the motifs' introspectiveness, because the portrayed virtually disappear into their respective colour.
Trine Søndergaard creates images of a mood rather than conventional portraits. She avoids direct confrontation and observes what happens visually when a person looks down and the face is barely visible. In this way she works with portraits as a kind of mental space. She contemplates on subtle things expressed in a person's appearance, exploring the borders of the genre - moving between individuality and the universal.
In the history of photography the portrait genre has mainly served private or representative purposes - the portrayed being a family member or a public figure. In her project, on the opposite, Trine Søndergaard examines the portrait's potential in a deliberately anonymous space, which maybe says more about being human than a traditional outward-looking portrait.
Trine Søndergaard (born 1972) received in 2000 the prestigious German book prize Albert Renger-Patzsch for the series NOW THAT YOU ARE MINE, published at Steidl Verlag. In recent years she has especially been noticed for the series How to Hunt made together with Nicolai Howalt and this project will be shown at a major solo exhibition at ARoS - Aarhus Kunstmuseum (DK) late 2009. In 2010, Trine Søndergaard exhibits the portrait project Strude at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.