Performing Documents Exhibitions, Chosen Family Exhibition
I’m writing to briefly mention two group exhibitions that I am participating in. One is already up at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland and one is upcoming at the Center for Book Arts in New York City.
Chosen Family — Less Alone Together
Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, June 11, 2022. – Sunday, Oct 10, 2022
The exhibition Chosen Family – Less Alone Together draws on international positions and works from the collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur to shed light on photography’s treatment of the (elective) family and its representation of it as a social and cultural construct. In addition to the works of professional photographers and artists, the museum also presents personal photo albums, showing the family stories of people from Winterthur and from all over Switzerland.
The exhibition Chosen Family – Less Alone Together presents works by contemporary photographers who delve into their own family history. Alba Zari’s work involves a reappraisal of her own family history mediated by pictures from her family archive and contemporary photographic documents. The artist – who was born into a fundamentalist Christian sect – uses scraps of text and image fragments to investigate the history of her family and explore her own identity in the process.
Other artists present themselves and members of their family in sometimes elaborately staged settings, reflecting on the roles played by the individual family members and the photographers’ own position within this constellation. Charlie Engman, for example, presents his ‘mom’ in settings that have little in common with our conception of a mother’s everyday reality and calls into question the one-dimensional image of the caring mother.
Other artistic explorations focus on the fact that family can be defined by much more than just (blood) kinship. These works show how photography can be a means of creating new ‘images of family’ that offer an alternative to middle-class notions of it. Photographer Mark Morrisroe, for example, depicts a sense of cohesiveness apart from kinship in portraits of his friends and lovers. The pictures reveal the connection between the protagonists, expressing complicity and a sense of belonging, an embodiment of the idea of elective family.
With works by Aarati Akkapeddi, Richard Billingham, Larry Clark, Charlie Engman, Seiichi Furuya, Nan Goldin, Pixy Liao, Diana Markosian, Anne Morgenstern, Mark Morrisroe, Dayanita Singh, Lindokuhle Sobekwa, Annelies Štrba, Leonard Suryajaya and Alba Zari. Christoph Merian Verlag will publish the book ChosenFamily – Less alone together as an adjunct to the exhibition.
This exhibition is part of the international programme of the PHotoESPAÑA festival.
Performing Documents: Modes of Assembling
Center for Book Arts | Friday, July 15, 2022. – Sunday, Sep 24, 2022
Performing Documents: Modes of Assembling, curated by Paige Landesberg, highlights artists who are collecting and publishing calculated excerpts of primary research, existing data, and archival documents as a practice. Through the act of interrogating (and sometimes altering) fragments of living archives–such as old family photographs, real estate listings, and public records of funding–these artists activate complex narratives of the political, the poetic, and the personal. The method of dissemination employed in each work relates back to the original formats where the contents once circulated; establishing an unconventional criteria for publishing that is rooted in context, time and place.
Additionally, as part of the exhibition, there is a publication that features a piece I wrote reflecting on I knew that if I walked in your footsteps, it would become a ritual.
Preorder your copy of Performing Documents: Modes of Assembling
Edited by Paige Landesberg
Softcover, tab bound, b&w and color
8.5 x 11 inches, 130 pages
The book Performing Documents: Modes of Assembling, edited by Paige Landesberg and designed by Brian Paul Lamott, accompanies the exhibition of the same name and includes contributions by Aarati Akkapeddi, Yusuf Hassan (BlackMass Publishing), Sam Lavigne and Tega Brain, Sarah Cook, Andrea Fraser, Paige Landesberg, Huong Ngo, and Adam Pendleton, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Corina Reynolds, Paul Souellis. This book introduces the reader to key ideas surrounding the document within contemporary art.
Thank you and hope you are having a good summer. If any of you attend either of these exhibitions and have any thoughts about the work, feel free to email me. I’d love to hear them.
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