365 DAYS OF PASENAU debuts a year-long photographic project from Norwegian artist Maria Pasenau. Titled Day by Day, the work consists of daily self-portraits taken from 11th October 2018 to 11th October 2019. Presented for the first time on a continuous, looped video screen, the photographs are displayed undated but programmed to run chronologically from day 1 to 365 and back again.
Using daily alarm reminders, the regimen of documenting herself each day served as a method of introspective interrogation for the artist. Sometimes distracted by her pet rat in the images or pink-faced and puffy after a fight with her boyfriend, the series reveals patterns of behaviour, dress and emotional state. What began as a curious experiment, became one of Pasenau’s most intimate projects, more revealing than even her nude work. Each image presupposes a personal interaction between the artist directing each shot and an individual behind the camera, a relationship based on mutual trust and shared vision that a viewer becomes involved in. Exposing these moments for a substantial audience at Soft Opening’s Piccadilly Circus Underground Station space, the artist effects a self-aware critique of contemporary society’s obsessive desire to publicise the private. Shot mostly across Norway, with brief sightings of London, Berlin and New York, the project traces not only the artist’s physical journeys but her creative output, engendering that very precise youthful mystery of how much and how little can change all at once in a single year.
365 DAYS OF PASENAU presents a new sculptural work alongside the project. A wooden hanger crowned with the carved profile of the artist wears a camel-coloured trench coat emblazoned with a painted patch of scrap fabric. Day by Day also explores Pasenau’s intimate relationship with clothing as a form of self-expression. Collecting and recycling often abandoned pieces, Pasenau assembles eccentric looks as an act of rebellion, resisting predictability and conformity. Her trench reappears throughout the series as do other garments in brief moments that deliver comforting recognition and familiarity. If her styling reaffirms clothing as a mode of self-expression then Day by Day creates a space wherein by contrast Pasenau can self-critically examine fashion as an increasingly homogenising industry.