17 novembro 2009


Parts, 1998, Serigraph on 12 felt panels with 1 text panel, 259 x 254 cm.

As they reached the Bronze period-the second to last room, they observed that all the visitors had securely fastened their headsets and moved from object to object, completely oblivious to any ambient sound. Their gaze and pace was guided by the tapes. There was the possibility that no one would notice except maybe the guards, but they did not wander far from the large groups with headsets. Generally, museum-goers feel it is more efficient to work their way from the top down. In the past, staircases were the ideal location; the landing just above the exit door to the top floor of the exhibition space worked well, and if people could hear you they would maybe stop and listen, but would not venture to look. Therefore, hardly anyone went beyond this point to the next landing, and staff rarely used the public staircase. Unfortunately, this institution did not have that vertical expanse.


Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. When Simpson emerged from the graduate program at San Diego in 1985, she was already considered a pioneer of conceptual photography. Feeling a strong need to re-examine and re-define photographic practice for contemporary relevance, Simpson was producing work that engaged the conceptual vocabulary of the time by creating exquisitely crafted documents that are as clean and spare as the closed, cyclic systems of meaning they produce. Her initial body of work alone helped to incite a significant shift in the view of the photographic art’s transience and malleability.

Lorna Simpson first became well-known in the mid-1980s for her large-scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. With the African-American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of our lives in contemporary multi-racial America. In the mid-1990s, she began creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the sites of public – yet unseen – sexual encounters. More recently, she has turned to moving images – in film and video works such as Call Waiting, Simpson presents individuals engaged in intimate and enigmatic yet elliptical conversations that elude easy interpretation but seem to address the mysteries of both identity and desire. Her newest body of work includes drawings based on the characters in a recent video work constructed from found film footage. As a collection, these portraits become studies on the construction of identity achieved through the subtle interplay of lines and accents of color.

Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. She has participated in such important international exhibitions as the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany. She has been the subject of numerous articles, catalogue essays, and a monograph published by Phaidon Press. Simpson's first mid-career survey was exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, and the Gibbes Museum in South Carolina. Exhibitions are planned for 2008 at Salon94 and at the Internation Center for Photography show titled Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, on view January 18th - May 4th.

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