Monthly Archives: November 2010
Lassry’s intimately framed photographs slip effortlessly between genres and iconographies, capturing plastic still-lives, uncanny publicity portraits, collages, animals, and landscapes. Thoroughly familiar and blank at the same time, his images move beyond the simple category of “photography” and instead ask us to revisit the perceptual experience of a picture. Duplicating and then cloistering his subjects within saturated fields of color, excised from their original context, Lassry attends to the singularity of his subjects, while also immersing them in their own formal properties. While clearly depicting specific objects, people, animals, or places, the images are overwhelmed by their own colors, shapes, and patterns, effectively merging their representation with their abstraction.
Lassry’s photographs often slide between stillness and movement, challenging the eye to register, in certain blinks, fleeting vibrations in the picture. Whether through layered exposures or the staccato rhythm of colors, and between field and ground, his still-lives and portraits possess a seductive, if slippery, hold on our vision.
Elad Lassry uses reassuring formal techniques, such as colour co-ordination and studio production values, to deflect attention from the incongruities that trouble the hearts of his photographs and films. In the photograph Burmese Mother, Kittens (2008), for instance, a cat glares defensively at us while she suckles her young: the offspring aren’t kittens, however, but puppies. In other of his modestly sized, often colourfully framed, images he collages material from old magazines, makes impersonal portraits of people who look like models, and presents mannered still lifes, such as the purple Rococo slipper on a purple glittered plinth against a purple background of 2000 (2009). Lassry’s uncanny, faux-friendly images are at once acerbically contemporary and strangely out of time.
“I’m fascinated by the collapse of histories,” says Lassry. “And the confusion that results when there is something just slightly wrong in a photograph.”
For Figure 3 (2008), Sietsema takes as his inspiration the precolonial ethnographic objects found in various locations—including Africa, Indo-Asia, and the South Pacific region of Oceania—that he has collected since 2001. He reimagines these objects through his own drawings and sculptures, then captures the sculptures on 16mm film; the results are flickering, mostly black-and-white moving images that slip between abstract and figurative representation. (MoMA)
“In a similar way, film, I began to think, adds another layer to an object and to our encounter with it. There is the object and then the representation of the object, and I would try to create a third category, where what you encounter is not simply either material or image but somehow both.”