WrongAsger Carlsen

(Morel Books, 2010)

Strange twin-headed mutants, genetically flawed hybridized-species, and characters with crudely homemade prosthetic limbs: these are some of the imaginatively engineered cast members that inhabit Asger Carlsen’s dystopian vision of the ordinary—a nightmarish, surreal and darkly humorous composite of fact and fantasy.

In Wrong, former crime-scene photographer Asger Carlsen documents a world where the grotesque, absurd, and surreal become the ordinarily normal. We recognise the context of these images as all too familiar, but the people and creatures that inhabit this distorted reality are anything but. In the foreword to Wrong, Tim Barber notes: “In these images, it’s the un-truth you are left wondering about. Like vivid hallucinations you see out of the corner of your eye. They are familiar and there is nothing out of the ordinary in these photographs except everything.”

At first glance, Wrong appears to be a collection of candid moments of the everyday, mundane narratives of nothing more spectacular than vernacular snap-shots. This work is “based on a true story” and in our nervous appreciation of Carlsen’s vision, we recognise that these manipulated scenarios are a closer work of fact than we would comfortably like to imagine.

Asger Carlsen has said that Wrong should be read as “a relief from reality.” Compellingly convincing in its authoritative satire, it doesn’t demand a leap of imagination, but instead (with wit and humour), Carlsen forces us to question the truth, or the degrees of it that we imagine are evident in his work. What’s ‘wrong’ is left to the viewer to interpret.

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