Ginnungagap/Yawning Void (Cycles)
2 x 12 b/w photographs, archival inkjet prints
17.25″ x 17.25″ / 40 cm x 40 cm each
Available single Edition of 12 (+3) or as a grid Edition of 3 (+1)
This work visualizes the archaic force of expressions, the uncontrolled moment – suspension, relief, the instinct of human being. Pictures of a very animalistic power of expression arise and it is not clear, whether the portrayed yawn or scream. This creates an ambivalence of expression and it is not sure whether the portrayed are tired, bored, scared, in pain or relieved, all archaic forces of expression. On a second level, there is the moon in the night sky reflecting the sun light, reminding us of the rhythm of nature, the pulsation of the Universe. By adding the full moon cycle of a complete year, I embed the rhythm of nature into this work, and the Sun. The moon as the “night sun”, the sunlight reflected in the darkness of the night. The ever present power of nature, coherence facing chaos created by mankind.
The word Ginnungagap derives from the oldest known German language. In Germanic Mythology, Ginnungagap is the vast void, the Chaos out of which the world has been created. Today we find it in the German words “Gähnen” and “Beginnen”, or in the English word “Begin”.
Faces of suspended tension and ethereal ellipses comprise the elements of Elisabeth Ajtay’s latest photographic series “Ginnungagap in the Sun.” Similar to Munch’s The Scream, figures seen in Ajtay’s piece are frozen in a sense of panic, perhaps due to an inability to reach full actualization. The fact that these expressions were captured while the models were yawning adds yet another dimension to this piece. These images seem to capture the unseen angst and trepidation subconsciously written into the mundane act of a simple yawn. In fractions of a second, inner struggle against the plight of humanity and the search for truth is captured by the lens. The faces seem to stretch and howl towards the moon, like a lone wolf in the night, the black background and dramatic lighting emphasizing these features. The circular form of tensely stretched lips is echoed in the shape of the moon. It is as if the physical limitations of the mouth cannot fully express the force of trapped emotion; correspondingly the light of the moon sometimes breaches its borders. The hazy edges create a place for this frustration to escape, while in other instances crisp detail provides a guiding clarity.
Christina Elliott, curator (MA)