Artist: Liz Deschenes
Venue: Miguel Abreu, New York (two locations)
Exhibition Title: Rates (Frames per Second)
Date: May 4 – June 17, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Miguel Abreu, New York
Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Rates (Frames per Second), Liz Deschenes’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will take place at both gallery locations. With this new body of work, Deschenes furthers her inquiry into the history of image production techniques and the conditions of viewing developed in previous series, such as Zoetropes and Stereographs. Here, she takes as reference experimentations of 19th-century scientist and chronophotographer, Étienne-Jules Marey.
The works shown at 88 Eldridge Street take Marey’s protocinematic inventions as point of departure. In 1889, he developed a machine that recorded movement using photography, thus providing a technological basis for commercial motion pictures. Producing photographs on a strip of sensitized film moving at a rate of 60 frames per second, Marey’s camera created the illusion of movement. It is important for Deschenes, however, that Marey wasn’t interested in reproducing reality or creating illusions, which defined the industry of spectacle. His objective was that of recording spatial and temporal dimensions of movement in order to analyze it in real time.
Confronted with four equally wide, monumental multi-part works that span the length of entire gallery walls, the viewer is here immediately engaged in a rhythmic progression through space, as he or she passes by a succession of thin strips of silver-toned photograms positioned at a constant interval from one another. The phenomenological experience produced by this rigorous sequencing of space is akin to a physical impression of time passing, of the body’s movement being captured in formation. The variously reflective texture of the photosensitive paper on display, coupled as the show unfolds with the widening individual panels comprising the works, affords a subtle sensation of gradual embodiment. Further, the cinematic apparatus of the running film strip representing reality, which Deschenes allegorically alludes to, is reversed to reveal through the photographic objects’ mirroring material a fuzzy image of the passerby in staccato motion, while the photograms themselves, if you will, remain installed and fixed in place.
The slightly concave photograms shown at 36 Orchard Street refer to Marey’s diagrams, which record human steps with the use of photosensitive paper. The horizontal, rectangular shape of the panels in this series corresponds to chronographic representations of the duration that a person’s foot stays on the ground while walking at various speeds.
In line with Marey’s approach, Deschenes’s photograms are not stand-ins for experience like pictorial photography, instead they point to the material conditions of their production and display. The four sequences of photograms, exhibited at 88 Eldridge Street, operate simultaneously as records of the environmental conditions of their exposure and handling, and as markers of physical space and the labor-time required to produce and install them.