Josephine Pryde

Josephine Pryde

Work from The Splits at The CAC – la synagogue de Delme.

“In preliminary discussions with the artist, the curator expressed enthusiasm for an exhibition exclusively of photography. He felt that not only had there never been such a display in the building, but he also remained interested in how Josephine Pryde deployed photography in her artwork, perceiving in it various types of resonance and slippage with respect to what he would otherwise assume to be more mundane characteristics of the medium. Josephine Pryde made several visits to the centre d’art contemporain – synagogue de Delme, and came to agree with him that an exhibition containing only photographs would be indeed the direction to take.

The Splits is the result. In it, you will see frames containing one, two or four images, using mirroring and repetition of motifs throughout. Yet the images are also different from one another, are frequently juxtaposed against each other inside one frame, and fall into four distinct categories, which, for the sake of convenience, have been called: Foreboding, Dilemma, Instrument, and Split (or, Sand).

There are several views of two different, but both elaborate, hairstyles. These were created by Sergio Renis, an accomplished hairdresser invited by the artist. The model was Laffy, from the uns* talent agency. The creations are shot from behind, each under different lighting arrangements. They are not the sort of hairstyle you would usually prepare to wear down the street. Are they art? Where is fashion? They sit, prosthetic, a self turned into a haircut. The lighting, in combination with the materials and forms, gives variously an impression of powdery tumours of aristocratic dust, artifice pocked by airy cloud, or of wired-up natural fronds, streaked through with blurry, slippery strands of underwater alienation.

These images are punctuated by panels showing sand, as if to provide both an interruption and a ground, with slight movements perceptible across frames. Visible in some is the slim edge of what could be a phone – with a jack socket, so not new – a model that, while ageing, is still in use, rising here from the surface of the grains, shot soft, rotating, on vibrate.

Where to perceive the Splits of the title? The composition of this very text with which to announce the exhibition has proven a challenge in respect to battling dissociation. How not to forget about the artwork while promoting the show? How to acknowledge the materials used through all stages? How to develop theories derived from that experience, as well as from the sight of the work, its level of content, its production and forthcoming installation, and to put all this into language for distribution? How to navigate the mutations, the multiplications, the flips and juxtapositions that are the properties of images, of files, of scans, of photographs? The potentials of infinity? How to take a long, hard look at the impulse in such texts to insist upon something that would call itself ‘relevance’? Relevance to time, to space, to technology… How on earth? Relevance, a word with its roots in a raising up, and a repeating of same, an etymology which recalls the strain to elevate, in order to make claims, in order to send a petition to belong to the present. But the present fragments! The petition is ineligible!

The Splits experiments in the field of such questions and exclamations, through deployment of barely perceptible displacements and repetitions, through the example of some hair fashions, and their confections and contrivances – becoming merely one site of appeal amidst the dislocated communications of an unsettled present.” The CAC – la synagogue de Delme

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