After Space Odyssey #1, 2010, ink jet print, tinted plexi, 48 x 60 cm., ed. of 5

After Space Odyssey (1968)

After Space Odyssey#1 - #8, 2010
ink-jet print tinted plexi, 48 x 60 x 7 cm.
Ed. 1/5 + 2 A.P.

Ebbe Stub Wittrup’s latest series After Space Odyssey consists of a number of landscapes from the island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, taken during the artist’s stay there in the summer of 2010. The series is presented as photographs in cyan green mounted in a transparent plexiglass case with a red plexiglass cover. When the cyan green photograph is viewed through the red glass, a neutral photograph in greyish shades appears.

To achieve the surrealistic effect of these black-and-white-like landscapes, Stub Wittrup first photo¬graphed the scene using a large-format camera. The artist then experimented with a technique where the actual image is printed monochrome in a colour complementary to the red front glass of the case, which in this case is a cyan green. The colours cancel each other out, and the photograph appears in neutral grey shades viewed through the red frontal glass.

All the works in the series are locations from the science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey from 1968 by the director Stanley Kubrick. One scene in the film was meant to show the planet Jupiter, and the island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides most resembled the director’s idea of Jupiter. This Scottish area consists primarily of large boulders worn down by huge melted glaciers. The rocks in the area are of the anorthosite type and closely resemble the rock type that exists on the Moon.

During the shooting back in 1968 the landscape was filmed from a helicopter, which projected a red light down over the landscape. The greenish shades of the landscape were thus cancelled out by the red light, so that the film appeared in greyish shades. The landscape looked more unearthly and barren, like an imitation of Jupiter.

In Stub Wittrup’s works, as in his earlier works, the artist explores the relationship between the mythi¬cal, the fictive and the real. The photography from this series exists in a kind of intermediate state, as the actual photograph arises between two colours – the cyan green and the complementary red colour.

The idea recalls Ebbe Stub Wittrup’s earlier series Devils Bridge from 2009-10, where the photograph documents something real, but the thing that is real is a myth, and thus non-existent. Artistically, the same point of departure underlies the series After Space Odyssey, but in this case the unreal is repre¬sen¬ted by way of reality, as a pure science fiction film, inasmuch as the greyish landscape only exists through the red light.

Portfolio After Space Odyssey