15.10.09 → 19.12.09
Re-enacting Realism in Contemporary Photographic Art
Based on the presupposition that nowadays the real has become elastic, both in physical and conceptual terms, the exhibition Realities and Plausibilities examines the ideological premises of realism and its re-enactment in contemporary photographic art.
Making the borders between snatching, reconstructing or even simulating the real indistinct, such practices, which have, in recent years, acquired novel currency within the wider realm of the visual arts, introduce a new type of consciousness about photography as a mode of representation, liberating the photograph from the once singular relationship to its referent (the Barthesian “having-been-there” condition) and the presumption of the “moral righteousness” accrued to the “unmediated” real.
Curator: Alexandra Moschovi
A delicate balance between reality and artifice, event and non-event, chance and performance, index and digital forgery, which is pursued through staging and digital manipulation, the photographic verisimilitude that equally informs overtly staged photographic imagery and “near documentary” moves between a sliding scale of reality and plausibility. Contradicting or complementing each other, the works presented here reflect in terms of their commonalities as much as their differences the aesthetic and conceptual shifts and turns, the dominant traditions and departures that contributed to the formulation of this new position on photography’s realist potential.
This reflection upon photographic realism is not some revisionist interpretation of modernist photography’s values; nor is it necessarily a direct parepomenon of the general “return to the real” as some argue. All the same, it is neither just an aesthetic trend nor a mere celebration anew of the joy of craftsmanship and the phantasmagoria of illusionism as Philistines may claim. Affording us with a truer than life itself picture, these “fictive realities” and “lifelike illusions” comment upon the ontological integrity of photography as well as the status of the hyperrealities we experience on a daily basis.