Jens Olof Lasthein

White Sea Black Sea

Storgata 95

2. October 2008 - 25. January 2009

Mari Hildung

Over a period of six years Jens Olof Lasthein has travelled along the EU’s eastern border from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the South photographing everyday life. The people here exist between two worlds, in transit between two phases, where nothing is decided and the aim is rather uncertain. They haven’t quite left the past, but nor have they fully entered the future.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain almost 20 years ago, the countries of the former eastern bloc have experienced a major transition – and still are. During this period, a new demarcation line has developed, identical to the EU’s eastern border.

The exhibition is a result of Jens Olof Lasthein’s extensive project undertaken in the period 2001 – 2007. His photographs show landscapes and people from Transylvania, Russia, Moldovia, Ukraine and Belorussia – in the border region between east and west in Europe.

White Sea Black Sea is about borders: an outer, physical border and an inner, invisible one that divides people. The everyday world forms our inner border, between that which we recognise and that which we don’t understand. Has the world really becoming smaller, as we keep reminding ourselves, or are the borders for what we see as part of ourselves continuing in tighter circles?

Lasthein’s visual journey through the borderland between east and west in Europe is in all its simplicity an attempt to soften up borders – the photographer’s and perhaps also those of others.

Jens Olof Lasthein was born in 1964, grew up in Denmark and currently lives in Stockholm. He attended Nordens Fotoskola in Stockholm in 1989–92. After graduating he worked as a freelance photographer for newspapers and magazines, as well as on his own projects. The photographer has had several separate and group exhibitions both in Sweden and Europe in general. His book Moments in Between – bilder från forna Jugoslavien (Journal 2000) won the ETC Photo Award 2001 and was selected by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger as a contribution to The Photobook: A History, Volume II (Phaidon 2006)