Photograph As Object
February 14th - April 10th
Thinkingaboutphotography.com explores artists who favor “creating” rather than “finding” in their photography, and who invent narratives rather than observe and record them. For this specific post, I’m interested in featuring artists who encourage viewers to interact with their photographs by forgoing protective framing and moving them into trafficked spaces.
Ever since I was twelve and saw an exhibit of assemblages by Ed and Nancy Kienholz at LACMA, a “rule breaking” approach to photography fascinated me. They used photographs awash with resin, faded and torn as extensions of sculptural forms and as stand-ins for people.
Later I was moved by Christian Boltanski’s evocative and haunting Lessons of Darkness installation at MOCA’s Temporary Contemporary where he transformed sterile spaces into a cathedral with photographic reliquaries lining the walls. Boltanski’s innovations have continued; in the 2011 Venice Biennale he used moving loops of photographs to explore random chance in the wheel of fortune.
While Kienholz and Boltanski probably don’t self-identify as photographers, Robert Frank is considered one of our own. In the1980s and 90s he broke from traditional presentation in favor of experimental bound stacks of previous imagery and writing on collaged prints. That phase of his photography had a big influence on me.
So for my first showcase, I’m looking at artists who free photographs from walls and release them into our three-dimensional world. The five artists featured are all very different, but are connected by their flexible visions of what photography can be. Some give life to the paper itself - leading the viewer on a journey as it folds and warps. Others offer, even demand, interaction that grants viewers a share of authorship/ownership experiences. I want to thank these artists for taking a chance on me in this first show - I'm thrilled with the results.