Marte Aas established herself as an artist in the late 1990s. She steers clear of dramatic effects and is largely disinterested in the irony and staged scenes that characterize the photography of the early 1990s. Her distanced, observational pictures evince rather a kinship to so-called straight photography, which is more realistic and objective in nature. In her works, Aas explores landscapes, everyday life, and the margins of society.
Crop Circles is a cinematic depiction of crop circles in southwest England. We silently glide over monochromatic fields of wheat that are sporadically interspersed with impressive geometric patterns. We observe this scene from afar, both literally and figuratively. The landscape is largely filmed from a bird’s eye perspective in Super 8 film with a grainy resolution. This creates a sense of distance to the images, adds texture to the film, and imbues the colours with an almost impressionistic touch.
Crop circles are a controversial phenomenon that have stirred debate and wonderment. Many believe the circles have been created by extraterrestrials or have come about through other supernatural means. Most people reject such claims, however, and contend that they are manmade. In her work, Aas does not take sides in this controversy.
The film also shows people wandering around in the circles. Perhaps it is modern people’s intense quest and need for meaning and “something more” that we see here? The work is a poetic depiction of the landscape, even as it opens up for existential questions.
Text: Line Engen
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0