Victor Burgin


UK 76 (detail), 1976. Set of 11 archival inkjet pigment prints printed 2016, 40 × 60 inches. Copyright Victor Burgin, courtesy the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.

Victor Burgin began his career taking photographs of the floor. His 1967–69 Photopath, included in the British iteration of the seminal conceptual art exhibition Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form, returned those photographs to their original site, creating a diagonal “path” of prints that mirrored the wooden floor beneath. Both a doubling and an alteration of the exhibition space, Photopath traced the edge between reality and representation. In doing so, Burgin’s work asked viewers to contemplate both the context and conditions of spectatorship. But site specific to the extreme, Photopath verged on tautology. Burgin soon decided to use photography not simply to scrutinize the gallery, but to probe the connection between the aesthetic realm of the white cube and the world outside with a body of work that at once mimicked and manipulated the codes of commercial advertising. His 1976 Possession is the canonical example: featuring an appropriated image of a pampered white couple, it is bracketed by a question—What does possession mean to you?—and a firm statement of fact: 7% of our population own 84% of our wealth. And importantly, while the work has appeared in galleries, it has also been postered on city streets.


UK 76 (detail), 1976. Set of 11 archival inkjet pigment prints printed 2016, 40 × 60 inches. Copyright Victor Burgin, courtesy the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.

Another major body of work from this time, UK 76, made on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, is currently on display at Bridget Donahue in a sort of fortieth-anniversary celebration. Here, Burgin continued his reorientation of photography from floor to wall, but rather than transform his pictures into precious prints, matted and framed, Burgin fixed his images to the gallery as a series of posters, pasting them straight to the wall (although not, as with Possession, out in the streets). The project’s eleven black-and-white prints don’t so much hang as stick, and the scenes depicted—a white woman staring into space at the grocery store; a black woman on the sidewalk; power lines soaring over an empty street—resonate with a slew of genres, from landscape painting to magazine spreads—which simultaneously fit them into their gallery context and provide them with distance from it. The prints are large: years before Jeff Wall expanded photography so that it might compete with painting, and gave it the frames and colors to match, Burgin made it clear that “big photography” already existed in the form of advertising.

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Sandy Skoglund (1946- )


Revenge of the Goldfish © 1981 Sandy Skoglund

Sandy Skoglund was born in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1946. Skoglund studied studio art and art history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts from 1964-68. She went on to graduate school at the University of Iowa in 1969 where she studied filmmaking, intaglio printmaking, and multimedia art, receiving her M.A. in 1971 and her M.F.A. in painting in 1972.

Skoglund moved to New York City in 1972, where she started working as a conceptual artist, dealing with repetitive, process-oriented art production through the techniques of mark-making and photocopying. In the late seventies Skoglund’s desire to document conceptual ideas led her to teach herself photography. This developing interest in photographic technique became fused with her interest in popular culture and commercial picture making strategies, resulting in the directorial tableau work she is known for today. Skoglund currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

http://www.sandyskoglund.com

Hendrik Kerstens

‘HENDRIK KERSTENS DID NOT TRAIN FORMALLY AS AN ARTIST. HOWEVER, HE WISHED TO DEVOTE HIMSELF TO A MORE CREATIVE PROFESSION AND IN 1995, AT THE AGE OF FORTY, HE LEFT THE BUSINESS WORLD AND TOOK UP PHOTOGRAPHY. HIS WIFE ANNA WORKED FULL TIME TO SUPPORT THIS CHANGE OF DIRECTION. IN A REVERSAL OF MORE TRADITIONAL ROLES, KERSTENS CARED FOR THEIR YOUNG DAUGHTER PAULA, WHILE ALSO STUDYING PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE DAY. HAVING A CHILD LEFT A DEEP IMPRESSION ON KERSTENS. THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY, HE EXPLORED THE ACCOMPANYING FEELINGS OF RESPONSIBILITY, VULNERABILITY AND LOVE HE FELT TOWARDS HIS DAUGHTER, STARTING WITH DOCUMENTARY FAMILY SNAPSHOTS. AS PAULA PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY GREW, KERSTENS SEARCHED FOR AN ARTISTIC MANIFESTATION OF THESE CHANGES, LEADING TO HIS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE GREAT DUTCH MASTER PAINTERS OF THE 17TH CENTURY WITH PAULA AS HIS MUSE.’

https://hendrikkerstens.com