Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

8th April 2017

The exhibition Dominique Lambert / Le Pourquoi Pas? presents two series by the French photographer Stéphanie Solinas. In her work, Solinas attempts to materialise abstract concepts such as identity or the spiritual in a systematic and factual manner. She employs photography as a part of a diverse array of research methods – alongside language, video and installation. The research process is central to her practice; by collaborating with experts from various disciplines Solinas investigates the shared role of the artist, the scientist and the medium as moderators of reality.

Dominique Lambert

Dominique is the most common gender-neutral first name in France and the 27th most popular given name. Lambert is the 27th most common surname. For Dominique Lambert, Stéphanie Solinas made an inventory of the identity of every Dominique Lambert in France, over a period of seven years. She used proven methods of identification in a structured step-by-step plan. Through written character sketches, computer generated portraits and mug shots, Solinas circles around her subject, without being able to grasp its ‘true’ identity.

He is a forty-five year-old man.
He was certainly very beautiful in his youth.
He is starting to age, but is still attractive.
His hair is not too short,  well groomed.
His clothing is neat. He wears an open white shirt.
He is tan. He has wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead from the sun.
His hair is brown. He is clean-shaven.
His eyes are clear.
One of them is always smaller than the other.
He is often facing downward, and his gaze, insistent.

IMG_3056.jpg

Solinas’ ambiguous documentation of each Dominique Lambert is empirical in its scientific measurements of identity. Her project is invasive, without being completely transparent and revealing. 

Recently I have been questioning documentation as an art form. My current practice and work is a documentation of an experiment with limestone. Much like Solinas’ Dominique Lambert exhibition, I intend to install my work as a series of research with multiple different elements and medias. They all make up the research that has and is still taking place. Solinas ambiguously presents her work as though it is unfinished and therefore ongoing. 

During a residence in Reykjavik, Solinas visited mediums, geneticists and other experts on the mind. The artist let their directions guide her through the Icelandic landscape, which turned out to be full of spirits, elves and other invisible presences. As with Dominique Lambert, Solinas tries to capture the abstract and subjective in words and images. Again, her process is characterised by the methodical documentation and organisation of scraps of evidence- made up of photography, video and curious objects.

The cyan blue wallpaper that surrounds the visitor is a blueprint of the various elfin dwellings in Hafnarfjörður, a suburb of Reykjavik. Following the directions of the medium Erla Stefánsdóttir, Solinas placed light-sensitive paper in the splits in the rock of a lava landscape where elves are said to live. The resulting inventory of cyanotypes and their coordinates forms an almost scientific chart of the supernatural.

Daisuke Yokota – Matter

Long strips of prints, shining with and smelling of the was used to model them. Draped through the room, these prints appear to allude to the darkroom where developed prints are hung on the line to dry after passing through the chemical baths. Daisuke Yokota has taken works from his archive, but without applying any form of selection or intentional styling to the finished work. Yokota scanned entire rolls of film and printed them as enlargements. In this way, the image is subordinate to the form and volume of his archive as a whole.

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