Kaufmann Repetto, Milan, Italy
November 20 - December 17 2014
In Model, Talia Chetrit reflects on the complex relationship between reality and representation, investigating themes of au- thenticity in the photographic medium through the exchange between subject and photographer. Alongside the new series of photographs, a video captures Talia Chetrit’s parents – present in earlier photographic works – as unwitting subjects of a collection of video clips. Parents candidly records the self-conscious posturing the artist’s mother and father, contrasting the act of staging an image with the relationships created in the act of photographic portrayal.
While Talia Chetrit photographs, a digital camera films the artist’s unsuspecting parents, capturing interstitial situations – bits of conversations and gestures – whose intimacy is made public. The video exposes what happens behind the curtains of the photographic sessions, moments which lead to an image but are normally left out of the final photograph, revealing the view of the artist as curious, voyeuristic and directorial. Explicitly rendered is a vulnerable and private exchange between three members of a family, as well as a photographer and her models.
This process exposes artifice – the posing of subjects for a desired effect – while simultaneously revealing the net of rela- tionships that exist between husband and wife, parents and daughter. Accordingly, the family unit alternates between complicity and disobedience to the power dynamic that exists between the photographer and the portrayed subject. The ostensible sincerity of the candid camera gives a window to the illusory character of photography.
The accompanying series of photographs show the artist’s parents gazing into each other’s eyes, then at their phones or a compact mirror, then back at the camera lens. Employing a number of photographic styles, the components of which allude to authenticity or staging, Talia Chetrit debases the tropes of portraiture. Encountered after viewing Parents in the adjacent gallery, a seemingly candid image taken from a second floor balcony feels intently posed. The use of three different camera formats further highlights the ways in which the fabrication of an image influences its reception.
The interrelation of the video and photographic works in Model places emphasis on the unseen structures inherent to pho- tography, investigating the role of photographer and subject as they both attempt to fashion an image that reads as sincere. What becomes visible through Talia Chetrit’s laying bare of her working process is that from behind the camera lens sincerity can also be constructed.