NEW YORK, NY.- The International Center of Photography
presents Perspectives 2010: Carol Bove, Lena Herzog, Matthew Porter, Ed Templeton, Hong-An Truong, the inaugural installment of a new annual series focusing on significant recent works by contemporary artists, photographers, and filmmakers. The exhibition will be on view at ICP from May 21 through September 9, 2010, and is organized by Brian Wallis, ICP Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Collections & Chief Curator. The Perspectives series continues ICPs ongoing exploration of the most exciting projects by emerging and less familiar photographers initiated in its award-winning Triennial exhibitions.
This is a critical moment, states Wallis, in which the questions about the constructions of history and memory are not just theoretical ideas but issues pertinent to daily life. Transformations in the making and interpretation of images, driven forward now mainly by digital technologies, have made ever more urgent our understanding of how historical meanings are invented in the present. What is impressive about this group of artists is their very diverse explorations of the contested relationship between the pulsing flow of images that define our daily life and the appropriated archive of historical imagery.
Although the Perspectives exhibitions are intended to be non-thematic group shows, inevitably there are associations between the artists. Most notably, while these five are united in their reliance on the photographic image, their uses of photography often take unexpected forms. Some of them rely on installations or room-size ensembles of photographic objects to communicate their ideas. Found or appropriated images and concepts are often the raw materials of their practices, and they are often engaged with other mediums in addition to photography, including writing, drawing, sculpture, filmmaking, bookmaking, and performance.
These artists are not concerned only with the photographic medium, whether it is the formal qualities of photography in transition or the newly defined digital features of the photographic print. Instead, they focus on the subjects of photography, and its means of defining and describing critical social, political, or even philosophical issues.
Carol Bove (American, b. 1971)
Many of Boves earlier works focused on shelf-based collections of books and objects that referenced past historical moments or moods, often centering on the turbulent 1960s. Her more recent work has adapted room-sized installations or settings that establish associations between various types of sculptural objects, both natural and manmade. Her precise Minimalist settings draw together raw materials as diverse as peacock feathers and driftwood, books and pop culture images, creating evocative symbolic references.
Lena Herzog (Russian, b. 1970)
Lost Souls records Lena Herzogs journey into the world of Cabinets of Wonder and Curiosities, precursors to the modern museum. Containing objects discovered in travels to unknown territories, especially the New World, these cabinets sought to illustrate and explain the universe and new sciences. It was an era of map making, of filling in the blanks and naming the unnamable, doubting the unquestionable.
This new delineation of geographical boundaries and human identity was one of the most fascinating and subversive events in the history of ideas, and it triggered a debate over fundamental religious and philosophical questions. Lost Souls takes us into this world rarely seen by outsiders. Having been granted access to the early cabinets Wunderkammern and to the first medical museums, Herzog has photographed their mysteries with a sense of beauty, wonder and tenderness. Her subjects are mostly infants born with genetic defects that prevented their survival, and although they have been preserved as scientific specimens, some for hundreds of years, they are profoundly transformed through Herzogs lens into beings who mirror our own longings, fears, and existential dilemmas.
Matthew Porter (American, b. 1975)
In his dramatic, almost cinematic photographs, Matthew Porter establishes an unsettling relationship between history and imagination. His sun-drenched muscle cars excerpted from 1970s television fly just too high over their city streets, evoking youthful masculine fantasies. Capitalizing on the inherent narrative implied in any juxtaposition of images, Porter has moved toward increasingly improbable installations of unrelated photographs, such as cowboys in Western landscapes alongside invented images of Nazi-era dirigibles.
Ed Templeton (American, b. 1972)
Known as much for his intense observations of the chaotic lives of suburban youth as for his professional skateboarding accomplishments, Ed Templeton is an acute chronicler of the turbulent life going on around him. His highly personal photographs and installations exist alongside his paintings, graphic designs, and writings as a vivid and perpetually unfinished diary. But they also stand as a profound meditation on the meaning of everyday life, embodied in questions of life and death, love and beauty, hope and desire.
Hong-An Truong (American, b. 1976)
In her video series Adaptation Fever (200607), Hong-An Truong uses found film footage to explore the lost history of French Colonial Viet Nam. Her psychologically inflected vignettes use a variety of disruptive techniques, such as mirrored images and truncated English subtitles, to suggest our distanced and disjointed perceptions of the past. Aimed at a Western audience, the quartet deliberately attempts to reconsider notions of postcolonial subjectivity, power, and nostalgia, even without memory or experience.