07 July 2015

A Different French Connection

On the short list for my most recent Flickr Friday post, The Travelling Chess Statue, was the photo shown below.

Chess, Lorna Simpson, 2013 © Flickr user trevor.patt under Creative Commons.

Trick photography featuring a chess game isn't unusual -- see Photoshopped Chess (January 2014) for another example -- and having nothing else to say about the photo, I passed it by. Before signing off from blogging for the day I browsed through my recent Flickr favorites and discovered a second, similar photo: March 8, 2015, MCA, Chicago. Lorna Simpson’s three-channel video installation Chess (2012). So there was a story here and the common link was 'Lorna Simpson'. A web search showed that the photos were related to a video: Lorna Simpson (2013) on Vimeo.

Whether for still or moving picture productions, Lorna Simpson (b.1960) uses her camera as catalyst to question identity and gender, genres and history, race and class, fact and fiction, memory and meanings. Assumptions of photographic “truth” are challenged and qualified -- indeed redirected -- by the images she creates that are inseparable from the texts she writes to accompany them, by the soundings she chooses for videos, or by her pairings of vintage photographs with newly made renderings. The Jeu de Paume presents Lorna Simpson’s first large-scale exhibition in Europe beginning with her earliest photo-text pieces of the 1980s through her newest video installation, Chess, 2013, which makes its debut in Paris.

The Jeu de Paume reference leads to Lorna Simpson - Jeu de Paume (jeudepaume.org)

Lorna Simpson from 28 May 2013 until 01 September 2013 Concorde, Paris • For her first European exhibition, the Jeu de Paume presents thirty years of Lorna Simpson’s work. For this Afro-American artist, born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960, the synthesis between image and text is profound and intimate. [...] Lorna Simpson became known in the 1980s and 90s for her photographs and films that shook up the conventions of gender, identity, culture and memory.

Old timers might remember that the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume (wikipedia.org), once housed the world's greatest collection of impressionist works, a collection that moved in the 1980s to the Musée d'Orsay (ditto). Now it is an 'arts center for modern and postmodern photography and media' and undoubtedly a prestigious place for an artist to exhibit.

Getting back to Lorna Simpson's work, I wonder how she created the film. That investigation will have to wait for another time.

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