“Photons from the Sky to the Sea” is an exhibition curated by Donika Çina with the support of the Swedish Art Grants Committee, displayed for the public in the premises of “Galeria e Bregdetit” in Radhimë, Vlorë. Relying heavily on photography, either directly or indirectly, the exhibition was constructed as a journey through the feelings of the participating artists regarding the light, and also a little regarding the sea.


Coincidentally or not, the interiors of “Galeria e Bregdetit” match with the theme of the exhibition. Fully illuminated by a strong white light, the first room displays the works of Johan Österholm, Lotta Tornroth and Niklas Holmgren. Behind the iridescent curtains, a second room in semi-darkness introduces us to Ylva Carlgren, Mikaela Steby Stenfalk and Sjoerd ter Borg. The works are not interrelated, but neither are they completely separate from each other. Donika Çina guides the visitors through the works by providing information on them and the creative process.


Johan Österholm (1/2) – Untitled lantern Pieces – Object

Four objects are displayed in the entrance of the exhibition. They consist on small pieces of the sky, photographed by Johan Österholm with an “archaic” method according to Donika Çina, by bringing them on lantern glass painted with silver gelatin. He emphasized the contrast between the dark and the pollution caused by lights. In large and technologically advanced metropolises where light prevails, starry nights are not visible in the dark.

Lotta Törnroth (1/2) – I Wait as a Lighthouse – Photographs

The darkness where the Skandinavian coast lies is followed by tragedy and Lotta Törnroth in her photographs is positioned in the places where a fatality occurred.  In each of the photographs she holds a light in her hand. Just like the lighthouse that brings hope and guidance, she sheds light on the pain of the family members who are always waiting for someone to return from the darkness of the sea and to find their way. In a dark place the light could be God himself. It is not clear whether Lotta Törnroth wants to give hope or to shed light on tragic events so as not to forget those who left in the dark. Either way, her photography leaves room for everyone’s imagination, but also transmits a sense of freezing cold that could permeate all visitors.

Niklas Holmgren – YL I & II – Painting

A large hyperrealistic painting by Niklas Holmgren and a small version of it stand side by side. “YL I” could be easily mistaken for a photograph from a distance, but it is a very detailed oil painting, to the point that according to Holmgren it takes about 6 months of work.

While observing the painting and the nuances in its background, it seems that Niklas Holmgren does not intend to transmit an image seen by naked eye, but through the camera and the manual focus that the camera enables. He played with the light angle , in order to share with the visitors the despair, the anxiety of the primary subject and the subject in the background. A faded, cold, pungent light penetrates the subject’s body in the first painting and a clearly delineated red light covers its copy in the adjacent painting.


Johan Österholm (2/2) – Night into Day – Photographs

Inside the dark space of the exhibition we find ourselves next to the second work of Johan Österholm. A device projects photographs on the wall, which show the lanterns of different cities of Germany. Once upon a time these lanterns used to illuminate, but now they are out of function. They stay in the city as memorabilia, as souvenirs from the past and often serve as a shelter for birds.

Ylva Carlgreen – Spatial Line – Watercolor

At first glance, Ylva Carlgren’s paintings look similar to pictures of foggy doors or windows. It remains unclear where the light in them emanates from and where the subject is located. She uses the method of blurriness to create the five paintings that play with the perception of darkness, light and the interconnectedness between them.

Lotta Törnroth (2/2) – Imaginary Islands – Object

The second part of Lotta Tornroth’s work brings back the sea in a new form. In her practice, Lotta Törnroth selects pieces of icebergs from the seas of the world and lets them melt on a white sheet, leaving traces on it. These are the Imaginary Islands. This time she collected the water from the Adriatic Sea, froze it and repeated the process. By adding a little blue pigment, the Imaginary Islands mark the white sheets, exposed on the thread-hung tiles from the ceiling.

Mikaela Steby Stenfalk (1/2) – Collective Collection – Installation 3D

In the corner of the room hangs an object which must be seen standing under it, with your head facing up. By using a 3D printer, Mikaela Steby Stenfalk has created a rectangular shape that summarizes photos of the Vatican Dome, shot by tourists. After placing them side by side like a puzzle, she recreated the plastic cupola with these pictures. The Collective Collection is the collective and digital memory of Vatican visitors.

Mikaela Steby Stenfalk (2/2) dhe Sjoerd ter Borg – Three Wise men from East – Audiovisual Installation

On a screen at the end of the exhibition, Donika Çina shows how Mikaela Steby Stenfalk in collaboration with Sjoerd ter Borg realized a 3-dimensional digital journey with photos taken by people in different neighborhoods of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a bustling, energetic and extremely modern city. Day by day new trends arise in its streets and the city changes shape as people hasten to catch up with it. Sjoerd ter Borg has built a virtual installation, to which he has attached photos posted on social networks that portray Amsterdam bars. In the background you can hear a voice that explains how the specific appearance of these places is not accidental, but part of a well thought urbanization strategy, which in this case aims to transform an area from normal to chic. The look of the bars attracts people who fit in them, who in the digital age are investing in sharing impressions online and consequently, bringing in similar visitors. In the effort to cater to the needs of these new customers, the surrounding businesses will either adapt or leave. Their moving away also changes the identity of the area.