“Objects are so important in my photographs.”
Often times when we watch a film, there’s a clear distinction between what is real and what is fantasy — in terms of the world we live in and the worlds depicted on screen. However, if one were to step back and watch their own lives through a film, we would begin to view our social structure along with the the seemingly mundane phenomena as bizarre. What is your approach to framing the world and what messages do you aim to convey?
I love putting a big bright theatrical spotlight onto the things we may consider as boring or familiar. There’s no overt ‘messages’, it’s just my own sense of humor and point of view.
How about your current exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch. What was the process like from earliest concept to execution?
I have wanted to exhibit for a long time, I’d spent the last seven years creating two photo books that were never intended to be viewed on a small scale. Women was essentially a project of film stills from movies that don’t exist. The specific details within those images like toast popping, a dead plant or a mysterious background character were intentionally placed in the scene and are only really noticeable when being viewed on a larger scale. Similarly with HELLO, My Name Is…, the details such as the texture of the skin, prosthetic hands, individually placed eyebrow hairs or tiny purple thread-veins really only stand out when an 80×60” portrait is looking down at you.
Objects are so important in my photographs, so when I found out the exhibition was going ahead Jeffrey and I had a conversation about the importance of this ‘not feeling like a photo show’. This was exactly the kind of encouragement I needed to consider ways that I could bring physicalities from the photographs to life. These took the form of a piece of breeze block wall from The Valley, a rotating dry cleaning and airport conveyor belt, dirty cinema seats sticky with chewing gum, a miniature motel featuring a tiny male character watching hours of cartoons. Also Carole from the book Women melting on a sun lounger and Jeff, my favorite character from HELLO, My Name is… sitting as a permanent visitor of the gallery.
The execution of this new work was probably the most challenging. It was becoming increasingly stressful and financially intimidating to realize all of the ideas, but once I had them I really didn’t want to compromise and lose anything. I put everything I had into the show and genuinely have no regrets in doing so.