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shadow. over

Leigh Ledare,  Mom and Me on bed (frontal),  2006. via  photography-now .

Leigh Ledare, Mom and Me on bed (frontal), 2006. via photography-now.

Unconscious participation in social and political meta-narratives sits in many of our uncomfortable blind spots. Blurred, difficult or not possible to define they are uncomfortable truths that when left unfaced can become daunting and lingering shadows. Leigh Ledare’s photographic works describe such shadows: how do structures unseen, unfelt, unknown and often unloved impact not just the way that we see the world, but also impede us from seeing other potentialities without fear, judgement or derision. Raising questions of transgression, the laws of physical intimacy and the limits of self-affirmation and expression Ledare provide methods for viewers to discover their own biases, unconscious or otherwise.

It is this quality of non-judgemental questioning and soft diplomacy that I find so alluring. Looking at photographs from Ledare’s infamous series “Pretend You’re Actually Alive”, I get the sense that each work subtly asks a simple and direct but powerful question: but why? Why or why isn’t this image confronting? Who defines for the rules of what is confronting? Speculation drive the dominant narrative. Yet all the while an alternative narrative sits parallel to this speculation; why ask any questions at all? Can an image of consented expression be something that we don’t question? Can people ever be simply what they present to the world?

at home with Larry

Domestic spaces are a frequent source of inspiration for many artists. The colours, forms, textures and patterns that we surround ourselves with are directly related to our political and aesthetic sensibilities that can be appropriated and/or incorporated into artwork. In addition to objects and patterns, other people; strangers, accountants, lovers, parents, siblings, cousins etc. of course have a presence or absence in our private domains. The actions of these others, with their own, individual sensibilities can also prove to be excellent source material as performers of culture.

Larry Sultan’s (1946–2009) 2014/15 LACMA retrospective Here and Home, featuring over 200 of the artist’s non-conventional photographs of domestic scenes, facades and places of interest, included Pictures from Home; a series of enigmatic photographs taken between 1982–92 staged at the artists’ home. A quizzical blend of the mundane and aspirational, each image has a dreamy dead-pan quality that masterfully portrays what it is to dream the urban dream.

Larry Sultan, Practicing Golf Swing, 1986.

Larry Sultan, Practicing Golf Swing, 1986.

The World Belongs to Early Risers

'The World Belongs to Early Risers' is a 2002 photographic project by Dutch artist Barbara Visser that sits squarely between fashion stills and scenes of the tragic. These mysterious vignettes were installed at a series of bus stops where they became darkly humorous reflections on both the act of waiting and commentaries on the advertising materials that Visser's work has taken place of. I'm often drawn to artwork that is able to go beyond gallery walls; works that extend beyond the white cube and become a part of the work it is commenting; work that actively engages and seeks out people to read and respond to its concepts or commentary. Tanja Baudoin's interview published on the Afterfall website is a thoughtful reflection on Visser's practice and sheds light on the fine line between fiction and reality. It's well worth a read.

Barbara Visser, The World Belongs to Early Risers, 2002, 5 offset posters (street view), 120 x 176cm. Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam. A project for Villa Arson, Nice, France via  afterall

Barbara Visser, The World Belongs to Early Risers, 2002, 5 offset posters (street view), 120 x 176cm. Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam. A project for Villa Arson, Nice, France via afterall