Working in photography, video, print making and installation, Eric Baudelaire is interested in the relationship between images and events, documents and narratives. Recalling factographic practices, his work can involve elaborate staged situations that appear to be real, but are somewhat off-kilter, and place the viewer in a situation of questioning the modes of production and consumption of images. He also uses simple techniques of assemblage, sampling and mechanical reproduction, applied to real documents, to playfully extract fictive narratives or new formal vocabularies.
On the web:
“Letters to Max” film: https://vimeo.com/89560258
The Louisianna Project, 2003
Weems came of age in the 1960s and early ’70s in the US, amidst the Civil Rights Movement and second-wave feminism. When she got hold of her first camera in 1973, a 20th birthday present, she was working with a Marxist organization in San Francisco where she lived with her young daughter. Like many artists questioning cultural myths and social conventions around this time, it was through photography that she found a way into the complicated power structures and histories she wanted to redress. Since the 1980s, most often via conceptual photographic series, Weems has recalibrated the visual cues through which we read and understand gender, class and, most powerfully, race. If this makes her work sound didactic or antagonistic, it’s neither. Weems has an intractable belief in the capacity for compassion that inflects her work with wit and generosity. Continue reading Carrie Mae Weems
Immersion (Piss Christ), 1987 (original and after attack)
Andres Serrano was raised in a devoutly Catholic neighborhood where religion played a significant part of his growing up. From his first images as an artist, sacred icons and other symbolic elements have been frequenting his tableaux-like photographs. From religious iconography, human subjects, dead animals to more precise elements such as blood (a symbol for passion and violence), urine, milk, semen and later excrement, the artist seeks to convey a sense of dignity to his subjects and to reconcile the sacred and the profane through what Germano Celant termed as “the synthesis of the opposite”, so that “the lower part is in dialogue with the upper part, the human with the divine, the earthbound with the celestial”.
Continue reading Andres Serrano
In 1984 Coplans began taking the photographs of his own body with which he established his international reputation as an artist. These large-scale black-and-white images, enlarged from 4×5 inch Polaroid photographs and often presented in groups, are candid and sometimes humorous explorations of his own body. By cropping off the head, Coplans presents these depersonalised images of the body as a surprising, intriguing object, fascinating in detail and malleability. His work also stands as a riposte to the cult of youth and beauty represented by commercial photography and what he saw as the vanities of the 1980s art world.
Continue reading John Coplans
You’re fine, 1988
Using the camera as catalyst, Lorna Simpson is a conceptual artist who constructs assemblies of text and image, parts to wholes, commenting on the documentary nature of found or staged images. The exhibition follows Simpson’s point of view and themes beginning with her earliest documentary photographs from the late 1970s / early 1980s, never before exhibited, to her most recent works. It includes large-scale photo-text pieces of the mid-1980s that first brought her to critical attention and offered stark abstracted images of an African-American female figure (at times male as well), head cropped from the frame or back turned to the camera, nonetheless given voice through text panels or captions, a proto-cinematic construction of shot and script.
Continue reading Lorna Simpson