Friday, 11 December 2009
From a recently curated feature for culturehall.
These works represent an acute awareness of the implications of process. Each image is a self-reflexive critique of photographic processes, digital technologies, contemporary aesthetics, and how the medium functions. The struggle is to connect these four works conceptually in a way that elucidates this meta-photographic inquiry but does not overcome other concerns of each piece, as at least a few of these pieces are not entirely representative of the artists’ practice. However, they all acknowledge the role of the photograph, or photographic process, in the comprehension of the work.
Lilly Lulay’s Urlaub in den Bergen (vacation in the mountains) places the photographer as an obstacle to the presentation of the photograph. In a very literal sense, she is turning the lens back on the viewer, but she also becomes part of the image, interjecting herself into the process and presentation.
Letha Wilson’s work Right Back at You serves, and forgive the use of cliché, to break down the fourth wall of the photographic image. Wilson’s tacit acknowledgement of the role of context and interactivity in the perception of photographic works relegates itself momentarily to the status of the one-liner before challenging the notion of photography as a transparent medium.
A drastically different approach to landscape, Michelle Leftheris’ work Removals of Questionable Relevance (Things Large) is antithetical to the purported purpose of her image. Leftheris chose to de-purpose the photograph to make the image object rather than representation.
Rather than quite literally deconstructing the photograph, Jørund Aase has taken photographic aberrations and transformed them into representations. This image exists simultaneously in the realm of fantasy and reality, while the title, Dust and Effects I, betrays its lack of grandeur, the collection of celestial bodies, though optically distorted and misshapen, recalls the awe-inspiring nature of the earliest Hubble photographs.
The particular use of nature connecting these types of images is, as Aase’s image shows, no mistake. The familiar anchor that our photographic relationship with nature provides, gives the artists a narrow set of parameters to exploit while still offering the viewer a conceptual framework within which to function.