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26 August 2009

David Armstrong, The Indecisive Moment

Nan and I first spoke about the show in Arles around Christmas. My first instinct was to do exactly what we’re doing now. Nan’s wasn’t. And then my ideas began to change as well. Each of our in-between ideas involved a much more typical gallery hanging, the only difference being each of us wanted to show different bodies of my work. We had the same idea of a tight edit, each of the images of great import serving to support one another. Impacting as ‘less is more’, the ‘photographic statement’. blah, blah, blah. By the third or fourth time we’d reconvened, Nan had been to my place in Brooklyn several times, and noticed various piles of this and that group of pictures among the other debris. She’d really liked some of them. This made me so happy, as so few people had even seen this most current work, let alone talked about it or appreciated it (to a degree), myself included. I’ve been working a lot in fashion over the last seven or eight years and the sheer volume of stuff required in the time frame allotted you doesn’t leave a lot or any room for the contemplative pause. I’d just print immediately what I thought was good and think about getting around to actually sitting with it at some vague time in the future. The mountains of photo detritus began to overwhelm me. I finally was able to resume some one-on-one portraiture and pictures of places. It was intriguing, at least to me, how the pictures I’d done on demand informed what was happening in these, obvious but unexpected somehow. I know Nan was afraid to tell me she now would like me to just wallpaper my space with any and all pictures done over the last ten years. But I couldn’t have been happier. As always the work will show you where to go. And we were right back where we started from, ‘more is more’. It suits me better, and Nan too I think. After all, it’s just a piece of paper.

David Armstrong, March 2009.

Exhibition venue: Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2009.