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In preliminary discussions with the artist, the curator expressed enthusiasm for an exhibition exclusively of photography. He felt that not only had there never been such a display in the building, but he also remained interested in how Josephine Pryde deployed photography in her artwork, perceiving in it various types of resonance and slippage with respect to what he would otherwise assume to be more mundane characteristics of the medium. Josephine Pryde made several visits to the centre d’art contemporain – synagogue de Delme, and came to agree with him that an exhibition containing only photographs would be indeed the direction to take.
The Splits is the result. In it, you will see frames containing one, two or four images, using mirroring and repetition of motifs throughout. Yet the images are also different from one another, are frequently juxtaposed against each other inside one frame, and fall into four distinct categories, which, for the sake of convenience, have been called: Foreboding, Dilemma, Instrument, and Split (or, Sand).
There are several views of two different, but both elaborate, hairstyles. These were created by Sergio Renis, an accomplished hairdresser invited by the artist. The model was Laffy, from the uns* talent agency. The creations are shot from behind, each under different lighting arrangements. They are not the sort of hairstyle you would usually prepare to wear down the street. Are they art? Where is fashion? They sit, prosthetic, a self turned into a haircut. The lighting, in combination with the materials and forms, gives variously an impression of powdery tumours of aristocratic dust, artifice pocked by airy cloud, or of wired-up natural fronds, streaked through with blurry, slippery strands of underwater alienation.
These images are punctuated by panels showing sand, as if to provide both an interruption and a ground, with slight movements perceptible across frames. Visible in some is the slim edge of what could be a phone – with a jack socket, so not new – a model that, while ageing, is still in use, rising here from the surface of the grains, shot soft, rotating, on vibrate.
Where to perceive the Splits of the title? The composition of this very text with which to announce the exhibition has proven a challenge in respect to battling dissociation. How not to forget about the artwork while promoting the show? How to acknowledge the materials used through all stages? How to develop theories derived from that experience, as well as from the sight of the work, its level of content, its production and forthcoming installation, and to put all this into language for distribution? How to navigate the mutations, the multiplications, the flips and juxtapositions that are the properties of images, of files, of scans, of photographs? The potentials of infinity? How to take a long, hard look at the impulse in such texts to insist upon something that would call itself ‘relevance’? Relevance to time, to space, to technology… How on earth? Relevance, a word with its roots in a raising up, and a repeating of same, an etymology which recalls the strain to elevate, in order to make claims, in order to send a petition to belong to the present. But the present fragments! The petition is ineligible!
The Splits experiments in the field of such questions and exclamations, through deployment of barely perceptible displacements and repetitions, through the example of some hair fashions, and their confections and contrivances – becoming merely one site of appeal amidst the dislocated communications of an unsettled present.
The CAC – la synagogue de Delme and Josephine Pryde would like to thank Sergio Renis, Susanna Kirschnick, Clemens Jahn, Paul Niedermayer, Gernot Seeliger, Lafayette Vanderkin-Jus, Max Weiland & uns* talent agency, Reetta Nummi, Jonas Kuck, Valentin Hesch, Wasim Ghrioui, Mizuki Kin Tachibana, Malte Seibt, Thomas Ballot, John Kelsey, Guillaume Lemuhot and the municipal employees of Delme.
Josephine Pryde (UK, 1967) graduated from Central Saint Martin's School of Art, London. Her artistic practice has drawn on photography, sculpture, writing and performance in order to variously reflect upon and question images and the attendant technologies, frameworks and desires of their making. She lives and works in Berlin, where she also teaches at the University of the Arts.
Her work has been exhibited on the occasion of solo exhibitions at Art Institute, Chicago ; Soccer Club Club, Chicago ; Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York ; Gandt, New York ; Galerie Neu, Berlin ; A Certain Lack of Coherence, Porto ; Simon Lee Gallery, London ; Goton, Paris ; CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ; Arnolfini, Bristol ; Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn ; Galerie der Stadt, Schwaz ; Kunstverein Düsseldorf ; Kunsthalle Bern ; Chisenhale Gallery, London ; MD72, Berlin ; Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles ; Secession, Vienna ; Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne ; CUBITT Gallery and Studios, London ; Xavier Hufkens, Bruxelles ; Kunstverein Braunschweig, Brunswick ; Gabriele Senn Galerie, Viena, The New Art Centre, Salisbury ; Galerie Meerrettich, Berlin ; Succession, London… and featured in group exhibitions, or other constellations, at Fitzpatrick Gallery, Paris ; The Briefing Room, Brussels ; Hollybush Gardens, London ; Museum Bell Park, Kriens ; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen ; MUMOK, Vienna ; Charim Galerie, Vienna ; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn ; MoMA, New York ; MUDAM, Luxembourg ; Berghain, Berlin ; Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris ; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn ; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne ; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf ; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York ; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna ; Galeria Municipal de Porto ; Serpentine Gallery, London ; Greene Naftali, New York ; Christian Andersen, Copenhagen ; National Museum, Oslo ; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York ; Marta Cervera Gallery, Madrid ; Mathew Gallery, New York ; Mercer Union, Toronto ; KunstnernesHus, Oslo ; Artists Space, New York ; MalmöKonsthall, Malmö ; Tate Britain, London ; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis ; Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, Saint Jerome (CA) ; Künstlerhaus Bremen ; Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art Moderne, Paris ; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York ; National Gallery of Kosovo ; Kunstverein Hambourg ; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart ; Bodega, New York ; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris ; Shanaynay, Paris ; Kunstlerhaus, Graz ; Deborah Schamoni, Munich ; Downtown Photography Space, Los Angeles ; Kunstverein Munich ; Sculpture Center, New York ; Generali Foundation, Vienna ; Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht ; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel ; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (MO) ; Frac Ile-de-France, Paris ; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami ; Vilma Gold, London ; Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne ; Galerie Emmanuel Layr, Vienna ; after-the-butcher, Berlin ; Galerie Rauhfaser, Hamburg ; The Top Room, London ; Trial Balloon, New York.