It has been a human obsession for millennia to be able to communicate with other animals, especially mammals. Mammals appear to share so many features with us, are the objects of human love and curiosity in addition to scrutiny, hunt and domination. We know very well that we can never fully understand what it is like to be any other species and that most of our attempts at communicating with them are bound to fail. Even a domestic dog, closely bound with its owner, will never quite understand our way of thinking and vice versa. Some birds are quite intelligent and basic communication is possible if one tries hard. Fish, reptiles, insects - forget the idea of human communication entirely. But we have an urge to do this, and the history of literature abounds with tales of humans making friends with all sorts of animals, riding on fish, flying on birds and butterflies, living with lions, wolves and mice.
Tersløse takes this attempt literally and creates scenarios of humans interacting with animals on our terms: Interviewing, teaching, preaching, interpreting. At the same time he makes worms, tadpoles, eels, fish and birds larger than life. They enter the human scale of as fellow creature (or bigger), even though they are still essentially different, and often slightly disturbing in their alien presence.
In all of Tersløse's images a plausible reality is twisted into something surreal. Indeed the style of his digital imagery is reminiscent of the Belgian surrealists Paul Delvaux and René Magritte and the atmosphere (especially in The Harbor at 5pm) owes a great deal to the 'metaphysical' paintings of proto-surrealist Giorgio de Chirico. The dream-like quality of these images is a result of the combination of the impossible and the illusionistic, of what Salvador Dali called "concrete irrationality". The more the optical illusion works, the more striking the surreal effect is.
The absurdity of squirting with whales, the dreamlike clarity of the image and the theme of futile communication are all essential qualities of Ole Tersløse's superbly haunting images.