Last winter in London,the Gagosian Gallery was presenting a new series by American photographer Taryn Simon, entitled “The Picture Collection“. And I was Oh So happy when I recently discover that the Dvir Gallery will present the show in Tel Aviv this September.
I must admit that I have a massive crush on Simon’s work. I discover the artist through “Contraband“, and I instantly started to get fascinated by her artwork, but also by her obsession for archives and her incredible sense of detail. Some might say that she is obsessive but I would define her as a meticulous person. Simon grew up in New York and started taking pictures during her childhood. Graduated from Brown University ,and already exposed in the most prestigious art institutions in the world, she is today a hot stuff on the art market, and probably one of the most important photographer of her generation. The Guggenheim Fellow is of course a visual artist, but her writings are also holding an important position in her body of work.
“The Picture Collection” reunited hundreds of photographs and illustrations from the New York Public Library Picture Collection. Before the internet or Google Image librarians hand clipped thousands of pictures and illustrations from books and magazines in order to create a database. We can observed here again Taryn’s appeal for what is classified and archived.
“Each work is made up of a number of images that Simon has selected from a given archival category, such as Chiaroscuro, Handshaking, Haircombing, Express Highways, Financial Panics,Israel, and Beards and Mustaches. In artfully overlapped compositions, only slices of the individual images are visible, each fragment intimating its whole. Thus multiple related images are transformed into almost abstract color fields and geometric shapes. The framing and mounting has been specifically designed to make reference to early hanging systems in libraries and museums. The Picture Collection serves as a tabula rasa where images that are historically inscribed and validated sit beside those that are not. For example, by placing the reproduction of a painting by Kazimir Malevich next to those of unknown artworks hanging in an anonymous hotel room, or a Weegee photograph beside a commissioned advertisement, she puts into question the hierarchies by which visual and cultural materials are categorized. Continually seeking to discover the patterns, codes, and orders within the image overload of contemporary society, Simon questions the very dynamics of contemporary culture as a process of evolution or one doomed to endless repetition”*.
* Source : Gagosian Gallery Press release.