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The Construction of Christopher McCandless  2013-2016

In August 1992 the decomposed body of Christopher McCandless was discovered in an abandoned bus in Alaska. McCandless would become the protagonist, and the life he had lived during the two previous years of his journey would be the raw material for Jon Krakauer's 1996 novel Into the Wild, and Sean Penn's major motion picture of the same name, from 2007. McCandless' two-year odyssey traveling through the U.S., Mexico, and up to Alaska, along with the writings of Krakauer, are the keystones to the Construction of Christopher McCandless, a construction that enables this story and its adjacent stories to become one part of a larger narrative arch, disclosing a set of mentalities rather than one young man's entry into the wild. Christopher McCandless' narrative began with his own journey and death in Alaska, the Construction of McCandless on the other hand was made conceivable through Krakauer's novel, Penn's film, through Carine McCandless' biography, and the myriad articles, testimonials, and web resources devoted to his odyssey; in addition, The construction of McCandless includes a visual narrative consisting of McCandless'own photographs, Penn's film, the McCandless family photographs—along with the visual materials made by those who follow or are inspired by McCandless'odyssey, both compelling and banal. Together with the written sources, this expansive visual project informs and expands the idea of McCandless; for after his death, McCandless' odyssey did not remain an unknown and singular incident.  Because of the continued and unabating interest in his story, it demands to be placed within a broader context of ideas that stretch from the cultural values concerning the wild, of escape, of home, of representation, of youth, and of belonging. These ideas that are already manifested in literature—a large part of which McCandless read during his travel—and that are again reignited and utilized within the construction of McCandless enabling the construction to be understood within an expanded framework of thought.


The Construction of Christopher McCandless was was first exhibited at Fotogalleriet in Oslo in the Group Show IT’S CLOUD ILLUSIONS I RECALL with Richard Alexandersson, Eline Mugaas, and Anne Lise Stenseth, curated by Kjersti Solbakken.



Kjersti Solbakken

Richard Alexandersson

Eline Mugaas

Anne Lise Stenseth

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