/ Gold Stop

The object in the image is an ice dispenser; it is open 24 hours. The presence is haunting, nearly monumental, with the front and sides brightly lit in contrast to the darkness beyond. Swedish-Polish artists Franek Wardyński and Lia Forslund’s series Gold Stop, which dramatizes resources along the streets of Lubbock, includes outposts of Texan consumption. A Gold Store faces the camera centred, lit against the darkness of the night. Again, the light pointing to the resources of the city—as props on a stage. An image of oil and water dispensers, objects lined up in the desert, bathing in the southern sun—they seem to anticipate, waiting for the load of the earth's gold to be fracked, pumped and emptied, catering for the human infatuation with convenience. A banking, cash dispenser, welcoming you in under its safeguarding roof.

Earlier this year, Gold Stop was shot during a Land Art of The American West residency based in and around West Texas. As a result of a research study of American artists and human interaction of the land, the international artists Forslund/Wardyński looked deeper into the rural and urban fabric of Lubbock, a sparsely populated town in North-Western Texas. Starting in August 2019, Forslund/Wardyński spent six months photographing American land-use—a variety of urban locations as well as remote places. The objects in the portraits are telling a story about how humans are using the land, theatrically, the photographs seem almost staged: the lighting superficially bright, depicting props on a set. But the light is part of the Texan expression, safeguarding the importance of gold, banks, oil, cotton, retail, cars, ice and storage.

Gold Stop was awarded the Feature Shoot Street Photography Award, shown in Manhattan: at Allen & Hester, Chrystie & Delancey, Houston b/w Mott & Mulberry

Lafayette & Prince and in Brooklyn: Bedford b/w N5 & N6, Driggs & Metropolitan, N14 & Wythe, Meeker & Union, streets of New York, May 2020.

‘In their series ‘Gold Stop’, the Swedish-Polish artists Franek Wardynski and Lia Forslund highlight the eerie, ever-illuminated power structures that line the streets of a sparsely-populated Lubbock, Texas at night. Though people are absent, the presence of these spaces–both banal and haunting–speaks to the rhythms, movements, and rituals of the modern American West,’ writes Ellyn Kail May, 2020.