Some 82 handmade zines provided the source material for Astrid Jahnsen’s art project ON YOUR KNEES. They range in date from the 1950s to the 1990s and combine text with pornographic photographic images. In nuanced and subtle close-ups, Jahnsen rephotographs the explicit material. Her choice of angle, focus, and framing counteracts the male gaze that sexualised and objectified the women in the first place. The artist shifts the focus to the women’s own gazes, moments of touch, or fragments of text bordering the images. And by doing so, she creates a new narrative structure that opens up spaces of interpretation.
"Looking at a photo, looking at it again, in a different way, refocusing it, reframing the image, re-vising its discourse, understanding it, taking it out of context… All of this is an exercise that I repeat a thousand times over. I think about time, about space; I imagine the moment and I continue looking, patiently. I look at encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, albums, taking photos of all the photos; I analyse, look over the photographs, retracing them from my eyes to the image, imagining that the camera is a twenty-centimetre tunnel through time." (Astrid Jahnsen, 2017)