Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursdsay entry: Fig.

I was doing some research on deadpan photography for my English 200 class and came across the artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. It was an article written by Julian Stallabrass, discussing blankness and its significance in Contemporary Art. The photographers work as one, and through an interview I discovered their methods of collaboration as an endless exchange of encouragement. Fig. seams together a collection of landscapes, portraits, and rare oddities around the globe, subtly revealing man’s innate desire to conquer, collect, and define. I was reminded of visiting artist Mark Dion, and his multitude of collections. Whatever the project, his presentation was always pristine and thoroughly organized, like he was creating mini-museums. Broomberg and Chanarin’s book Fig. has that same feel; at a glance it could be noted as a compilation of random facts in the form of an encyclopedia-like picture book. I sat down and read through the entire thing in an hour like a breeze, and the captions that accompany each “fig.” are pleasantly informative, revealing intelligent transitions that follow a narrative, slightly conversational style. So in the end, the facts became less random. The pages were bound by the indomitable interest to uncover.

Finding this work was perfectly comforting and I feel that my style references it somehow, or rather I wouldn’t mind if it did. My ongoing interest in titles comes from how they function as another layer of information with multiple meanings. What may seem random and totally unrelated eventually becomes familiar through simple proximity. I definitely recommend picking up this book if you get the chance (once I return it to the library).

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