Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity of the week. In his images, artist Adam Ekberg combines photography, installation and performance. A contemporary mix of almost impossible situations.

“I’ve set up my camera in my garden, and, to my neighbours’ astonishment, I started throwing pineapples up in the air so they would imitate an eclipse.” Adam Ekberg’s words, for those of you who read our curiosities, should be a delicious introduction. But behind those bizarre installations, his inventions, worthy of Vil Coyote, hides a true reflection on the moment, and a will to perform. The artist, based in New Jersey, USA, shows a formidable energy while conceiving his scenes.

For an event to happen, Adam Ekberg works on his performance upstream. From the idea to the plan, from production to the final product. “My pictures start with a sketch that I pin on my studio’s wall, he explains. Then I do what is necessary for the imagined situation to happen.” The photographer sees his creative process as a game, bound by three rules: no special effect during the photoshoot (the camera acting as a witness), the situations must be created by the artist alone, and the photo must reflect the original drawing.

The ephemeral dimension of actions and gestures

“All my images come from the same research around the notions of absence and presence, Adam Ekberg tells us. They also express the contradiction between the ephemeral dimension of actions and gestures, and the static permanency of the photographic moment.” Those questions come from his experience as a hospital assistant helping HIV-positive patient. “Seating near someone as they are dying remain the most powerful experience of my life. I knew this moment was not representable, so I tried to find a language that would transcribe human fragility.”

Indeed, Adam Ekberg’s pictures question the human presence and his modalities of action. What we wouldn’t give to see the off-camera, look at the preparations that led to the precise moment sought by the artist! Though some installation play with the balance of objects, like Bic Lighter, Banana and Cocktail Umbrellas, other capture the transience of visible movements, like Lawn Chair Catapult. Thus form comedy playlets, like surreal and poetic tales, summoning the viewer’s imagination.

© Adam Ekberg