Nicolai Howalt is interested in duality, connections and relationships, and while death figures as an aspect of his work, he sees mortality as part of an ongoing investigation of life and its fragility. His photographic work is marked by the absence of a decisive moment, focusing instead on the heartless quietness of anticipation and aftermath in situations devoid of any narrative cues.
Howalt’s Light Break project rests significantly on his interest in the historical apparatus and practice of medical phototherapy developed by the Danish physician and scientist, Nobel laureate Niels R. Finsen (1860-1904) at the end of the nineteenth century. By using Finsen’s original equipment including convex lenses and quartz glass, made available by the Medical Museion in Copenhagen, Light Break is a documentary and aesthetic encounter between photography, history, science and visual art, reflecting Howalt’s fundamental interest in photography and light as medium, and unfolds a universe almost devoid of any subject matter, documenting instead a series of direct and unmodified impressions of the sun and of light itself.
Light Break is published in a limited edition 1,200 copies. Danish poet Morten Søndergaard (b. 1964) contributes with three poems, published here for the first time. Howalt and Søndergaard share a fascination of the power of the sun, of light as both subject and substance and fundamental condition for all life. Two articles, one by Dr. Tania Woloshyn (UK) and the other by Ion Meyer, Medical Museion in Copenhagen, present Howalt's Light Break project to a wider audience, placing Howalt's groundbreaking work in the context of both Medical and Art History.