On the occasion of the 2012 Edinburgh Art Festival, Stills
announces the first solo exhibition of works by James Casebere in Scotland, presented in partnership with The Lisson Gallery, London.
Working at the forefront of constructed photography since the late seventies, Casebere is associated with The Pictures Generation, a group of artists who combined a Pop obsession with media culture with the critical framework of Conceptual Art to redefine photography as a Postmodern medium in the 70s and 80s. Based upon his understanding of architectural, anthropological, art historical and cinematic sources, Caseberes detailed photographs address contemporary and historical social concerns.
His work challenges the boundaries between reality and imagination, whether dealing with alienation in sixties America; addressing slavery and colonialism through black and white visions of cotton mills and covered wagons peppered with native American arrows; or questioning incarceration and the significance of state buildings.
The works in the exhibition span over thirty years of the artists practice and include works from Life Stories, a series started in 1976, alongside works from 2003; Dorm Room, Garage and Turning Hallway, shown for the first time in the UK with the more recent and critically acclaimed Landscape with Houses series.
Landscape with Houses signals Caseberes return to the American landscape and his fascination with the vernacular notion of home. The images are carefully constructed compositions based on a recreation of the suburban area of the Dutchess County in Upstate New York as a model in the artists studio. As one might reconstruct an experience of landscape from memory, the model houses were created one by one, duplicated in many cases, and placed on the set, which itself underwent various revisions. Colours, architectural features and details, and the relative scale of parts were revisited several times, resulting in a pastiche of architectural styles, creating an ad hoc heterogeneous, but typical suburban neighbourhood which seems to have been built over a period of time. As the dream of home ownership and peaceful suburbia has given way to anxiety and the fear of loss, the fire in these images is not so much a natural threat as the material manifestation of a nightmare; the social threat of economic instability and loss of control.