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10 July 2012

Eva Stenram – Discovery Award, Rencontres d’Arles 2012

For my Discovery Award exhibition, I explore photography’s capacity for revision and misdirection through making changes to pre-existent erotic imagery. My most current series, Drape, uses vintage pin-up photographs as its source material. The women in these photographs are posed in interior domestic sets in front of curtains or drapes, offering a glimpse into intimate space. In my versions of these images, the curtains are extended to partially obscure the women. The background envelopes the focal point and the foreground slips into the background. The curtain vacillates between striptease-drape and blind or shutter, reinforcing its role as a barrier between public and private. The resulting image makes no attempt to look ‘real’; rather, it submits to a cut-and-paste collage aesthetic whose ultimate referent is the act of photography itself. Our gaze is also redirected to the overlooked part of the image in pornography/forest_pics, an ongoing series started in 2004. To construct these photographs, I seek out hardcore pornographic images on the Internet that are set within or around forests. The bodies are digitally removed from each shot by copying and repeating the surrounding landscape, creating visual scars within the image. When the ‘action’ is removed, the photographs bring to mind police forensic photography, as though these were the sites of forbidding, if unnamed, events. The forest setting complements this ambiguity: at once a place of beauty and danger, of obscuring and clearing – also a public as well as a private space. Again, the curiosity and desire implicit in the act of looking, or of photographing, are deflected through a series of elisions, buffers or screens.

Eva Stenram

Artist presented by Olivier Richon.

Exhibition venue: Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.