Per Pulverem Ad Astra

For Per Pulverem Ad Astra, Eva Stenram made negatives from NASA’s digital images of Mars and let these gather dust in her apartment before printing them. The resulting marked image is a combination of extreme distance and extreme proximity, a simultaneous gravitational pull towards the earth, to the dust around – and by extension, towards death – and a pull upwards, into space, away from the earth, towards the attraction, both physical and fantastical, of Mars. 

Inspired by a fascination for images from and of space, as well as surrealist photography (in particular Man Ray’s portfolio Electricité) and experiments in ‘thoughtography’ (attempts, originating in the late nineteenth century, to photograph mental images, which often appear as blurs and visual ‘static’), the series also invites debate around ownership, copyright, national borders and colonisation.

Source images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Supported by Pavilion Commissions Programme 2007
Works from Per Pulverem Ad Astra are held in the permanent collections of Moderna Museet (SE) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK).
Read "The Remotely Infinite, or The Infinitely Remote: Eva Stenram's 'Per Pulverem Ad Astra'" by Ben Burbridge.

>> Exhibited in
A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery (UK), 2017
Golden Sunset, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (SE), 2017
A Handful of Dust, Le Bal, Paris (FR), 2015
Born in 1987: The Animated Gif, The Photographers' Gallery, London, UK, 2012
Closer to Something, Four Corners, London, UK, 2011
Elusive, Camberwell Space, London, UK, 2011 (curated by Sian Bonnell)
Songs of The Swamp, WUK – Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria (curated by Hilary Koob Sassen and Rosie Cooper)
Something That I'll Never Really See, Contemporary Photography from the V&A, Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai, National Gallery of Art, Bangalore, and National Gallery of Modern Art , New Delhi, India, 2010-11 (curated by Martin Barnes)
Reading Landscape - Contemporary Landscape Photography, Architectural Association, London, UK
The Skinned City, at Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects, London, UK, 2010 (curated by Steffi Klenz)
Victoria and Albert Museum Photography Gallery, V&A, London, UK, 2009-2010
Group Exhibition, The Parking Lot – Eric Franck Fine Art, London, UK, 2008
Eva Stenram – Per Pulverem Ad Astra
, Pavilion, Leeds, UK, 2008
Time Travel, The Hat Factory, Luton, UK, 2007
Pavilion Commissions 2007
, Photofusion, London, UK, 2007


>> Books / Catalogues
– A Handful of Dust, by David Campany, published by MACK and LE BAL, 2015
(ISBN 9781910164389).
– Pavilion Commissions 2007, with essay by Ben Burbridge: "The Remotely Infinite, or The Infinitely Remote: Eva Stenram's Per Pulverem Ad Astra", Pavilion, 2007
(ISBN 978-0-9544775-4-7)
– Elusive, Camberwell Press, London
, 2011.

Per Pulverem Ad Astra 1.4 was awarded first prize in the Man Group Photography Prize 2007.
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