Review: PhotoDimensional at the MoCP

The current show at the MoCP begs the question: How strict are the boundaries between two and three-dimensional representations? The show features works by thirteen artists—some emerging, others established—all of whom challenge some of the most basic foundations in photography. A photograph–a frozen moment in time portrayed in a single angle, undermines the very foundations of Post Modernism: multifarious interpretations, lack of singular meanings, and the collapsing of boundaries.

Bettina Hoffman’s DVD “La Ronde”, 2004, is a circumambulatory view of a scene whose participants are eerily frozen in motion. Hoffman cleverly reminds us that for every given shot, 359 other angles are possible.

Heather Mekkelson’s installation, “Debris Field”, 2008-2009, is a recreation of an actual photograph of a post-disaster scenario. The lack of borders delineating the installation and the sheer size of it render the experience overwhelming, drawing the limitations of photography as an accurate conveyer of depth, complexity and space. The stillness of the installation and its positioning in a gallery setting, however, still makes it seem more like a photograph than the real deal.

Katalin Deer and Pello Irazu both photograph three-dimensional compositions that feature photographs within each one, thereby annihilating the distance between the photograph as a vessel to transport information versus as an object in its own right. The concepts of two and three dimensionality appear to be interwoven with such intensity that makes any attempts at separating them as straight as reading an Escher drawing.

Vik Muniz and Laurent Millet create installations that, when photographed, intentionally appear flat and devoid of depth. This allows both artists to comment on the impossibility of experiencing space in ways that are universal and readily legible.

Melinda McDaniel and Susana Reisman turn the photograph into an object of contemplation. McDaniel never fully develops her photographs, allowing the exposure from the gallery lights to continue affecting the final product, thereby turning the object into a continuous experience. Reisman prints her images on long strips of canvas rolled into organic, nautical shapes, which she lets elegantly sag over time, a la Eva Hesse. In both cases, arguably more so than any of the works mentioned above, the artists present photography in a refreshingly and comprehensively new way.

It appears that with that much dialogue occurring in the field of Contemporary photography, the answer to the aforementioned opening question is a simple “What boundaries?”, as it lets photography hover between two and three dimensions, and between a reality seen and a reality imagined.

The show will be running through April 19th, 2009.


Pello Irazo, La Fabrica, (Belgrado), VI, 2007


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