Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lynne Cohen: Occupied Territory 1971–1988

Lynne Cohen: Occupied Territory 1971–1988 at Higher Pictures. "...Although Cohen’s photographs never include human beings, they are clearly about human behavior and our compulsion to observe it under controlled circumstances. This is a key implication of Cohen’s title, Occupied Territory: her photographs mark out spaces populated by the viewer’s imagination rather than physical bodies. ('Real people have no place in these rooms,' remarked William Ewing. We see more than is actually there; we see ourselves. This shock of recognition was unsettling when the photographs were newly made. It is even more uncanny to inspect these same rooms twenty five-years later, convinced they still exist, unchanged, and wondering what other tricks time is playing on us. Comparing the interpretive possibilities for Cohen’s photographs at two points in time, we can pause − if only momentarily – the ceaseless flow of art-world trends and critical vocabularies; social, economic, and political concerns; and ever-evolving cognitive habits. In such an exercise, the images in Occupied Territory are fixed in their formal perfection, but capable of carrying various meanings. The more things change, the more they stay the same."

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