Persephone’s Revolt: Thoughts on Art and Rite in the Work of John Skoog, Nicole Brenez, (2016)

Conquering the Darkness—The Lyrical Dimension

The work Sent på Jorden (“Late on Earth,” 2011) by John Skoog prompts us to reflect on the special
role of film within the history of the arts: How is it possible to conquer the darkness, shape the shadows, divine
the gloom, or to immerse oneself in it so completely that all its nuances, textures, and depths are produced?
In this context, John Skoog’s work can be seen as part of a contemporary artistic examination that
comprises the works of Philippe Grandrieux, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Marylène Negro, and João Nisa and
thus makes use of a visual language shaped by visual artists and filmmakers that extends from Francisco de
Goya to Pierre Soulages as well as from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) to Terrence Malick’s _Days of
Heaven_ (1978).

The first scene of Sent på Jorden, in which a young girl sits with her back to the viewer, unmoving in
the evening twilight between the rustling ears of a cornfield, already immediately transposes us into a lyrical and
contemplative register. In the course of the film, everything—the dull and piercing noises, the twilight, the
solitude of the figures in the image detail, the sharpness with which the high definition technology detaches them
from the background, the only sparingly exchanged words—coalesces into a world of trepidation and
melancholy, afflicted by a distant yet powerful threat.

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