No matter how much someplace is important for humans, the possibility of us abandoning it is ever-present. We seek a better life, we escape from the danger, we die, we simply leave sometimes. That abandonment is crucial for the work of Gina Soden, who’s made a name for herself by seeking and revealing the beauty in the structures and locations that have lost it, or the others, which never possessed it in the first place. The mutual thing connecting them is the fact they are abandoned, left to the mercy of time and the inevitable decay. Neglect and nostalgia are also present as main motifs, telling the story of both the future and the past in every single photograph taken.
Her style can be characterized as the urban exploration photography, also known as ruins porn. This has become a thing in the recent years, but only a few artists manage to capture the spirit of the ruins as Soden. The process includes countless hours of online researching or walking in the nature just to find an abandoned location worth photographing. Churches, hospitals, asylums, coal mines, all of them are hunted down by the artist. Often the access to these places is forbidden, or they are monitored, and that is complicating her work. Some of Gina’s stunts include bribing the guard of the castle while the owner was sleeping in the house next door, or sneaking into an asylum and spending several hours before finally getting sniffed by a guard dog, being caught and thrown out.
Each location has its own architectural character, and the artist is heightening it by showing the slow and painful transformation into oblivion. She hints a narrative with studied composition, giving the scenes a sense of life, rather than simply taking a documentary approach. Soden manages to emphasize that ruinous beauty, balancing between nostalgia and decay. In the same photograph, she is showing the clues of the place it once was, but also what will happen in the future. By combining the past with future, she speaks of the birth and death, completing the circle of life.
Soden studied Photography and Multimedia at the Thames Valley University in London, graduating in 2007. Adventurous spirit as she is, nothing seems to stop her when she finds her ‘target’. She was able to crawl through tunnels to avoid guards, admitting she felt like she was in Shawshank Redemption. Gina’s traveled across the Europe searching for the places of perfect decay, and she hopes she will soon travel around the world, enriching her artistic portfolio.
She has exhibited throughout the UK, as part of group shows, or as a solo artist. In the spring of 2010 Soden was awarded photograph of the year by the Royal Windsor Photographic Society, and in 2013, she was awarded Emerging Artist of the Year in The National Open Art Competition. Her work was acquired by the Groucho Club, which also possesses the artworks of Gavin Turk, Damien Hirst, Michael Landy, just to name a few.
If you’re an explorer, then there is no place for fear. Walk bravely, discover what you can and show it to the world. Gina Soden sends a strong message through her work. Even the places like hospital, army bases, factories, all of them important for the human kind, get abandoned. No matter the importance, everything is susceptible to the almighty time. Everything ages, decays, and disappears in the end. A trace of symbolism is present, and even there is no human presence in her photographs, the viewers can’t escape the impression that we all have our beginning, our journey through the life, and our end.
She is represented by Artistics, an online art gallery based in Paris.
Featured image: Gina Soden – portrait
All images courtesy of the artist
|2016||Photo London||Eleven Gallery, Stand E2, Somerset House, London||Group|
|2015||Forthcoming Christmas Salon||Eleven Gallery, London, UK||Group|
|2015||The Other Art Fair||Old Truman Bruman, London, UK||Group|
|2015||Falls The Shadow Duo Show with Natasha Kissell||Eleven Gallery, London, UK||Group|
|2015||Filling The Void||K35 Gallery, Moscow, Russia||Group|
|2014||Christmas Salon||Eleven Gallery, London, UK||Group|
|2014||UK Young Artists Festival||Leicester, UK||Group|
|2014||The Other Art Fair||Victoria House, London, UK||Group|
|2014||Emergence||Eyelike Gallery, Beaconsfield, UK||Solo|
|2014||Group show||Century Club, London, UK||Group|
|2014||Decadenza||Rise Art, London, UK||Solo|
|2013||Wells Art Contemporary Exhibition||Wells, UK||Group|
|2013||The Other Art Fair||London, UK||Group|
|2013||Barbican Artworks Open 2013||London, UK||Group|
|2013||Natural Selection||The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London, UK||Group|
|2013||Pulse New York Art Fair||New York, USA||Group|
|2013||Photo Art Fair||London, UK||Group|
|2013||Art13 London||The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London, UK||Group|
|2013||London Art Fair||The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London, UK||Group|
|2012||Retrogression||Groucho Club, London, UK||Solo|
|2012||From 1820 to Now||The Fine Art Society and Bourne Fine Arts in Hong Kong, The Space, Hong Kong, China||Group|
|2012||Things I Love by Peter Blake||The Fine Art Society, London, UK||Group|
|2011||Signal 8||The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong, China||Group|
|2010||Art Smile, Charity Exhibition||The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong, China||Group|