For the exhibition presented at Sporobole, artist Lorna Bauer revisits and reconfigures an earlier body of work, entitled What Is Not But Could Be If, presented at YYZ Artist Outlet in Toronto in the summer of 2010. A new series of images, entitled What Could Appear In The Morning Mist, a title that also complements the title of this exhibition, consists of a photographic diptych composed of two deep black fields of empty space. A closer look at the images reveals a photographer’s tenuous reflection.

These two images reflect the artist’s interest in discovering the documentary photographer embedded in the reproduction of a work of art, whether in a magazine, online or in another form of publication. This discovery highlights the presence of the many hands (usually made invisible) involved in promoting and creating a work of art and then an artist.

15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 35 seconds, 40. Repeat.

An abstraction in progress

This diptych represents an attempt, through the legacy of photography, to slow the viewer down to the point of almost freezing him in place. How to write anything new about the “moment” or the
“slice” of life and its relationship to photography? Perhaps that is why the film image divided into discrete frames constitutes such an inexhaustible source of meaning. The frame confines the image, but in this case, the frame, which seems to occupy all the space, invites us to look elsewhere, in search of clues and to go beyond its limits.

Susan Sontag has already suggested that artistic photography is, to a large extent, dependent on the strangeness quest of surrealism. Lorna Bauer’s images take us back to the past, to the first examples of mechanical reproduction, to the time when photography was an instrument for learning more about things. Dan Adler recently commented on Bauer’s “dazzling and ghostly ghostly ghosts”, which “caused a lasting, yet fragile, sense of wonder. (Artforum, October 2010)

The images, produced in the studio and gathered for the exhibition, become indexes of the work required to produce them, suggesting the importance of the process, medium and method leading to the final product.

Jon Knowles essay


Photo credits : Jocelyn Riendeau