To Look, To See, To Watch, To Stare
by Elvis Richardson, 2003
Selections: Photography (exhibition catalog), Anthony Giordano Gallery, Oakdale, NY, 2003
Madeline Djerejian’s works in this show are from an impressive number of c-prints photographed in some of the major museums of the United States and Europe. The artist dwells in temperature-controlled rooms lined with European antiquities. She exchanges her attention between the works on the wall and the people looking at them, and saves onto film a momentary glance, a still.
Art museums are an integral part of a city’s identity and culture. The collections themselves speak of the institution’s acquisition policy, shifting and reassigning their historical significance according to current national values, and creating within their public display the spectacle of a dutiful façade of access.
Much of what the world knows about the last 1000 years it has learned from artists. The paintings that occupy these images represent our memory of history and history itself. Meanwhile the camera has radically altered what we take for reality. Originally devoted to the rendering of real life events, photography’s extraordinary capabilities of illusion are forever anchored by its embodiment as an index, more specifically a trace left behind by the reference itself.
Forever chained to the real world, photography has long looked to painting for context and meaning, and rummaged through every aspect of its pictorial conventions. Not so recently, painting has reciprocated this appropriation strategy and regularly references photography in both form and content. It is at this intersection that Djerejian’s images create a meta-fiction around picture-making and its now migratory relationship.
Elvis Richardson is a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia.