591 Exhibition - Jurek Holzer

Since 2004 I have been taking pictures of the bonfires people here in Sweden make on the last night of april each year, a holiday called Valborgsmässoafton. Some friends of mine who live in a suburb south of Stockholm usually burn old furniture and some other wooden stuff they don't need anymore. This to me seems to be a symbolical act of getting rid of the old in order to start something new.

These photographs have been in my "drawer" for sometime and I think it would be interesting to get some reactions from a larger audience.
- Jurek Holzer

When Magellan saw the many fires from "Tierra del Fuego" (1520) he thought that the natives where planning an ambush. He was wrong, they were lighting fires to get some comfort and relief from the freezing winds.

In Sweden, a network of beacons "vårdkasar" (known since the 13th century) were used as a warning when enemies approached and there was a war at hand.

A bonfire is a large controlled outdoor fire believed to derive from a Celtic festival. There are many international variants to this tradition.

There is something archaic about fires. A fire may arouse many different feelings and affect people's lives in so many ways. There is the comfort of sitting around a camp fire or by the fireplace, but there is also the horror of the uncontrolled fire destroying homes and entire towns.

I think about this exhibition by Jurek Holzer as a symbol of getting rid of the old and welcoming the new. A new spring, a new beginning. - Mr Urbano

Jurek Holzer
Born: 1947
Lives in: Stockholm
Latest exhibition: Warsaw, Poland autumn 2007 - spring 2008
Inspiration (photographers): Sebastiao Salgado, Josef Kudelka, Sune Jonsson, Pieter Ten Hoopen, Lars Tunbjörk
Inspiration (other): Anselm Kiefer, Dan Wolgers
Film, digital or both: digital
Quote: "Photography has something
infernal about it,
By which I mean:
there is no coming back.
Taken by its hand,
we pass by to the other side of life.
And there, caught in its world of light and shadow,
and only a presence, we also live.
Our troubles forgotten, we atone for our sins.
At last, domesticated; stuck.
On the other side of life.
From which there's no coming back".
De donde no se vuelve
A favourite photograph: Moonrise, Hernandez by Ansel Adams
Homepage/contact: oskarpmask.blogspot.com


Rhonda Boocock said…
I've had the same feelings about bonfires...cleansing, clearing out...I like seeing this theme explored in these amazing pictures. Thank you Jurek!
Mikael said…
Spellbinding, some feels like the rage of fire and some like dancing or an act of desire, most interesting
Paolo Saccheri said…
I always liked watching the fires. In Genoa we do the same in San Giovanni Battista's day, killed on the fire.
I like your photos where I may have different feelings as Mikael says.
Anonymous said…
great series! fire never looked so hot!!!