Laura Letinsky: Ill Form & Void Full
Chicago-based photographer Laura Letinsky has a new monograph, Ill Form & Void Full, published by Radius Books that shifts the way we think of the classical still life. For her new series, Laura creates references to the table from existing photographs, Martha Stewart, Dwell and Good Housekeeping magazines, her old work, the art of friends and actual objects. This process shows how ideas about the private sphere and their manifestation in our lives are always predicated upon what has come before: that is, perception itself is a construction. Included in this monograph are all 50 works from the series, as well as an interview with the artist conducted by the acclaimed novelist and cultural critic, Lynne Tillman.
On January 22nd, 2015, as a benefit for Filter Photo members, there will be an intimate dinner with Laura, followed by a cocktail reception and book signing of her new book, Laura Letinsky; III Form & Void Full. By purchasing your ticket for the event, you will be assisting in Filter’s mission of inspiring and uniting the photo community year-round. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Filter Photo and the development and construction of the new gallery in West Town.
Laura Letinsky’s recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Photographers Gallery, London, and the Denver Art Museum, CO. Previous shows include the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Casino Luxembourg; Galerie m Bochum, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. Collections include the Art Institute of Chicago; J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Hermes Collection, Paris; Musee de Beaux-Arts, Montreal, QUE; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York represents her. She is a Professor at the University of Chicago. Grants include the Richard Driehaus Foundation, Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and Canada and Manitoba Arts Council. Publications include Feast, Smart Museum of Art, UC Press, 2013, After All, Damiani, 2010, Hardly More Than Ever, Renaissance Society, 2004, Blink, Phaidon Press, 2002, and Venus Inferred, University of Chicago Press, 2000.
I use photography in its capacity, and limitations to see with all all its connotations of perception, desire, and knowledge. From the initial exhilaration over its permission to stare, I realized this tool’s powerful implications. Fundamental to my understanding of the medium is not only what is shown, but how; that is, photography as ideological apparatus. To engage the photograph in its late-capitalist frenzied circuitry of production and consumption is, for me, to afford a reconfiguration of this system, a calling into question not only what and how we see, but also of what seeing enacts.
My photographs are developed from a long-standing engagement with pictorial traditions informed by painting’s lineage and the omniprescence of photographic media. My Ill Form & Void Full series invokes objects and spaces linked to our private lives so as to examine the tensions and confluence of want and need. While my earlier photographs used an actual tabletop as their point of origin, I now build reference to the home from existing images including Martha Stewart magazines, my old work, art magazines, and actual objects. This mash-up of high to low, domesticity to culture, personal to social, is, once photographed, rendered as…photograph. That is, as image and material. Experience, once mediated, is configured as question rather than as want.
The revelation that photography portends is inevitably both a product and construct of what we already know. We use it to convey our most intimate feelings and ideas but by what means does private experience come to be defined and described in an era of youtube, facebook and reality tv? Its liminality is both fascinating and confounding. For me, drawing from the infinite stream of images better actualizes our ideas about what and how we perceive with perception itself predicated upon precedents, that is, what has come before. In my work I aim to entice, frustrate, and provoke my viewer’s sense of space and place so as to call into question our sensory, and other, understanding.
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