11 April – 17 August 2014

Billede fra udstillingen Light Break

Billede fra udstillingen Light Break

About the exhibition

Light Break is based on the light therapy developed by doctor and Nobel laureate Niels Ryberg Finsen ​​in the late 1800s. Artist Nicolai Howalt was inspired by this part of medical history to work with the sun in his photographic practice. In a series of unique photographic work he examines and makes visible the invisible part of sun light, both its life-giving and destructive rays.

Light Break is an evidential and aesthetic clash between photography, science and art. The exhibition reflects Nicolai Howalt ‘s fundamental interest in light as a material. In his studies Howalt uses scientific methods and apparatus from the 1800s. For example, he borrowed a number of Finsen’s lenses from Medical Museion. Inspired by Finsen’s method Howalt uses colored filters to absorb part of the sun’s rays and let the remaining parts of the electromagnetic spectrum pass through the original rock crystal lenses. The light rays are then captured on light-sensitive photographic paper (C -print) and the resulting photograms are uniquely direct images of the sun’s rays. An almost motif-less universe of sun and light takes shape in the exhibition’s large collection of images.

About the artist

Nicolai Howalt (f.1970) er en internationalt anerkendt billedkunstner, der primært arbejder med fotografi. Hans praksis tager afsæt i virkelighedens verden. Med en konceptuel og abstrakt tilgang i værkerne undersøger og udforsker Howalt forskellige, ofte eksistentielle emner, og udfordrer samtidig det fotografiske medies grænser. På trods af de forskellige temaer i Howalts værker bevarer de altid en følelse af dualitet – det abstrakte og det reelle, liv og død, rædsel og fascination, endelig og uendelig.

Nicolai Howalt (born 1970) is an internationally recognized artist who primarily works with photography . His practice is based in the real world. With his conceptual and abstract approach, Howalt often examines existential issues and challenges, whilst at the same time exploring the boundaries of the photographic medium. Across the different themes in Howalt works there is always a sense of duality – the abstract and the real, life and death, horror and fascination, finite and infinite.

Nicolai Howalt has received numerous grants and honors, including from the Niels Wessel Bagge Award; The Danish Arts Foundation, the New Carlsberg Foundation and the Hasselblad Foundation. Howalt’s works are well represented in public collections including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MUSAC , Spain; Maison Européenne de la Photographie , France; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston , USA; New Carlsberg Foundation;  the Danish Arts Foundation ; Esbjerg Art Museum and Skagen Museum. Nicolai Howalt has published books with Penguin, Hassla Books, Etudes Books and Hatje Cantz.

Nicolai Howalt is represented by Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen; Edel Assanti, London and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.


“It is some corrodingly beautiful  photographs of the round disc in all colors of the rainbow. […] Suspended in the beautiful room, it looks like spontaneously painted, minimalist experiments in color, but in reality, it is about a fantastic concept mediating between centuries.” Read the full review in Danish at

With the project ‘Light Break’ science and art encounter one another, as the photographer uses nobel prize winner Niels Finsen’s light therapeutical experiments from the end of the 19th century.” Read the whole review in Danish at Politiken

“You never saw the light of the sun like this before.” Read an interview in Danish with Nikolai Howalt at Politiken