NEW YORK.- The Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art presents Georg Gatsas The Process VI with works by Lizzi Bougatsos, Breyer P-Orride, Ira Cohen, Brian Degraw, Amy Granat, Manon, Kembra Pfahler, on view through May 1, 2007.
Standing in a room of photographs by Georg Gatsas is a bit like finding oneself suddenly submerged in the second hour of a Fassbinder film. Coming into focus is a motley group of characters tied together in loose, provisional alliances, but each one also determinedly, almost defiantly alone. Gatsas succeeds in creating such a rich, outsider scene with his lens precisely because he lives in the world he shoots. The Swiss-born photographer also books shows for touring American and European bands like the Dead Kennedys and the Locust in his hometown of St. Gallen and neighboring Zurich, picking up his camera around musicians, artists, and friends when he feels inspired. I dont see any difference between the musicians I shoot and my friends, he explains. Its who I hang out with, who Im around. They all have moved me in some way to pursue something there.
Shooting bohemian figures from the cultural sidelines is certainly not a new photographic practice, and Gatsasrough, as-is environments have their historic anchors in works from Goldin to McGinley. But unlike his predecessors, Gatsas doesnt seem to be trafficking some collective intimacy or tender domestic vision behind his band of night dwellers and music makersno suffering artistic soul just like the rest of us when we get a glimpse into their bedrooms or recording studios. Rather, these performers seem to run their lives performing. They carry their personalities on and off stage without a clear shift. Strong, tightly cultivated identities set the mood here, and the subjects stare out at us as if daring us to consider them.
Christopher Bollen, Excerpts from In With the Out Crowd, published in V Magazine, November 2004.