Kaufmann Repetto, New York, NY
September 15 - October 31 2016
Kaufmann Repetto is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of works by Talia Chetrit at its New York gallery.
In her latest photographs Talia Chetrit has structured a series of performative scenarios in which the artist uses her body, and that of her partner, to destabilize the conventions of self-portraiture and its mechanisms of control. The shutter release—along with mirrors in her studio, deconstructed clothing and multiple cameras—are tools with which Chetrit sets up deliberate triangulations that present us with critical openings. It is through these openings that we see the artist repeatedly demonstrating her submission to her own process as an act of authorial agency.
The space between actor, photographer and spectator is flattened here. Chetrit knowingly refracts and disarticulates her own subjectivity while presenting us with her body in relation to objects and to other bodies. In one work an uncanny portrait of a camera is taken from below, the artist’s feet stretch up in a caressing intrusion as if to touch its face. One of the only images of her face shows the artist grinning widely having placed tiny mirrors over her eyes. Here she performs the simultaneous gestures of the reflective ‘seeing’ apparatus built into the camera’s anatomy, and also a willful, humorous blindness—each commentary about the exhibition, which when seen together belie our notions about the role of the photographer.
Obscenity and transgressiveness can be the byproducts of any self-reflexive artistic practice of depth, but they are less often methods employed as concisely as Chetrit does in this project. What the artist considers to be an ‘irredu- cible’ corporeality captured here—that of the photographs she has taken of herself having sex, for instance—has an intentional commonality with her previous work. In the video and photographs taken of her parents in their home, in her earlier studio portraits, and in her street photography, Chetrit creates conditions within which she can document the ‘wrong’ performance, revealing various dynamics of disclosure, presentation and relationality.
Cameras have long been used as tools of domination, and the ‘female body’ is a surface that has reflected the bulb flashes of limitless oppressive strategies. What then should we take the photographer’s gaze to mean here when, in an anarchic move, she turns her camera on her own vagina? With this show, Chetrit invites us to traverse her mapless territory along with her, and—in discomfiting proximity to our own voyeurism—the artist reveals that we are all implicated in the intersubjective processes that produce images.
- Sahra Motalebi