Friday, February 25, 2011

CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle (Revision 12)

Visitors to Christopher William’s recent show might have had trouble figuring out how the random assortment of photographs connected to each other, much less the title. For Example: Dix-Huit Lecons Sur La Societe Industrielle does not have eighteen photographs, nor does it seem to have very much to do with education or industrial society. The confusion may have been the artist’s intention – it’s hard to tell, of course, but the title and the press release, which leaps from Canned Heat lyrics to photographer jargon, are a give away. Featuring one photo to each wall, the show made for a playful series of fetishistic depictions of unrelated banalities that let the viewer infer subjective connections between pieces. Certain bright colors reappear in various photos, along with the odd reference to an awareness of the artifice and art of photography. The images shown are clean and precise, with a commercial feel and an engrossing level of detail, making a simple viewing enjoyable in itself. The aesthetic experience, together with the intellectual puzzle of trying to figure what exactly is being said, entertained a visitor enough. Each might have left with their own interpretation of what is going on: maybe it’s an attempt to find a new photography, an interest in color or in imagery, a desire to lampoon both art and commercial photography. In making all of these equally possible themes, Williams managed to break away from photography’s bond to direct reference into a realm of subjective abstraction. Or maybe he just took nice pictures of random things; both seem like valid interpretations.

1 comment:

  1. I like the Goodman bit, it gives a contextual reference but it doesn’t read the best and is a little awkward. Rewording it would make it better.

    Add in a “of” before reference “A thick web reference is spun….”

    “The sparse installation features one pristine photo to each wall; each one compensating for its solitude with a wealth of information and connotations”

    Maybe simplify to something like “The sparse installation features one pristine photo per wall; each one compensating its solitude with a wealth of information….”

    Bringing DiCorcia in helps I feel but it is confusing at first, I had to reread that part a couple times to understand what you’re referring to, give more context about DiCorcia.

    I know there is not a lot of room but any way to describe more of the work? You only mention one of the works, we know they are photographs but of what?