A#24 Erdem

Anne Collier in conversation with Laura Burlington

Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland

Filters, 2021

On show until October at Lismore Castle Arts in County Waterford, Ireland, Anne Collier’s monographic exhibition Eye is a collection of works made between 2007 and 2022, examining the concept of ‘gaze’ and its relation to the human psyche. Imagery of eyes, sourced across genres such as photography manuals, advertisements, comic books, film stills, and album sleeves complement Collier’s intimate self portraits in the exhibition. In recognition of the deep ties between the medium of photography and our cultural identity, the New York-based artist’s works deconstruct the emotional and psychological bonds we develop with images and how they intersect with photography’s intrinsic links to memory, melancholy and loss. Underlying the exhibition is a tension between the objective, clinical act of documentation and the raw emotional response evoked by the images.

Anchoring Eye are Collier’s photographic compositions Filters (2021), which expand upon her curiosity into the analog photographic process and the intricacies underpinning the production, construction and distribution of images. Inspired by the imagery of vintage American romance comics from the 1950s to the 1980s, Collier underscores the hackneyed tropes that relegated women to the status of subservient and unendingly suffering subjects. The anguished female figure, enlarged in great detail, receives a Kodak Color Print Viewing Filter — a pre-digital device formerly used to correct colour in photographic prints — to establish a sequence of frames around the recurring images. Conceived by Collier in numerous CMYK colour iterations, the series resides in a transitional realm between the photographic and the cinematic, hovering in a threshold between the static and the moving image.

Alongside their bold presence as a part of Collier’s first exhibition in Ireland, Filters (2021) also appears inside A Magazine Curated By Erdem alongside an interview between the artist and Laura Burlington, the proprietor of Lismore Castle Arts.

Below is an excerpt from their conversation.

Eye runs through October 29, 2023 at Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland.

Left: Woman Crying #20, #21, 2021
Right: The Photographer’s Eye, 2016

Laura Burlington: We first met over ten years ago, and I remember admiring a work of yours: a photograph of two hands opening and showing a page from a book. You described it then as ‘a perfect moment of melancholy’. Ever since, I have thought about the powerful effect of being shown something.

Anne Collier: My work often explores our relationships with images — the act of looking — and the associations we both bring to and project onto images. I’m interested in how generic or universal images can take on deeply personal even autobiographical meanings.

LB: The works from your recent series, Filter, have clear references to pop art and culture.

AC: With the Filter images, I am working with the space between a still image and a moving image: between ‘photographic time’ and ‘cinematic time’. The series is also concerned with the pre-digital analogue era of photography. The colour correction filters I use in these works feature frames that closely resemble those we associate with film stock. The images—invariably depictions of emotionally distressed women — are sourced from romance comic books from the late 1950s and early 1960s, the pop era, but they also allude to Hollywood and to certain cinematic conventions. I was interested to see if all of these ideas might coexist in these works.

LB: You often work with the powerful symbol of the crying female. What does that symbolism mean for you?

AC: The image of a crying woman is in many respects a visual cliché. I’m interested in the universal and seductive nature of such images. It’s a form of staged melancholia that somehow still resonates emotionally and psychologically. Throughout my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, such images were pervasive in popular culture; you couldn’t escape images of women crying in comic books, on record sleeves, in movies, etc. Women were depicted as eternally suffering. The paradox being of course that the majority of these images were both created for and marketed to an exclusively female audience.

Filter #4 (Magenta), (Yellow), (Green), (Blue), 2021

LB: Much of your work features found media often from books and magazines. How did this start?

AC: I was always interested in photography’s relationship with material culture, how images circulated — on record sleeves, posters, in magazines, etc. — and how we develop personal relationships with these images. Much of my earlier work was an attempt to almost restage these encounters, to create photographs where the subject of the work was in fact another photographic image. I never thought of my work as appropriation per se. I saw them more as photographic still-lifes. I’m very interested in photography’s ongoing relationship with itself as a medium, a process and an idea.

LB: Photography as a medium seems as powerful and urgent a tool as ever. How do you feel about its future?

AC: I work with a large-format analogue camera. I mostly make my work in the studio. It’s a slow and often labour-intensive process. I’m aware that it is also an increasingly anachronistic approach to making images. I’m trying to create a discussion around objectivity, subjectivity and images that somehow resonate emotionally and psychologically as well as intellectually.

Read the full interview within A Magazine Curated By Erdem.

Left: Crying (Painting), 2021
Right: Eye #1, 2014

Woman Crying (Comic) #39, 2022

Cut, 2009

Developing Tray #2 (Grey), 2009




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