Galerie Raum mit Licht

 

JEMIMA STEHLI

»SHE LOOKED BACK«

Opening: Thursday 5 November 2010, 19:00
Exhibition: 06 November - 18 December 2009


»She looked back« is Jemima Stehli’s first solo exhibition in Vienna.

“The shifting positions I take in relation to the camera, the production of the image and the way I incorporate other people in the work continues to be important.”
Jemima Stehli 2009

Stehli’s earlier work based on Allen Jones sculptures,Table and Chair (1997/1998) and After Helmut Newtons Here They Come (1999) saw her occupying the position of the naked object in another artists work. In works like Wearing shoes chosen by the curator (1999), Strip 1999/2000 and Photo Performance (2005), she invited critics, writers and artists to make decisions in the making of the image. For her solo show at Raum mit Licht, the body of works exhibited are contextualized by earlier works, where the performative moment of taking the photograph is integral to the image.

To my left (2008) is a series of over-life size black and white auto-photographs of Stehli inhabiting the edge of the image, where she tries to imagine, and fit her body into the negative edge. In these works the hair always obscures the face. To my left is shown alongside a series of hand-printed black and white portraits of performers and musicians, also printed over-life size which capture the usually animated faces in absolute stillness as they regard the photographer and her activities. Straightforwardly graphic, these photographs reveal nothing but the stark and intensely intimate relationship the subjects have with the moment of being photographed. These portraits make no attempt to capture a personality. Each subject is photographed in the same circumstances, whether in London or Lisbon, only the right side of the face is illuminated by the daylight. The focus is on symmetry and repetition and the face becomes a purely formal structure seen through the lens of the camera. Lucie 1, Lucie 2 (2008) are the first in this series, two apparently identical photographs where the distance between the subject and the camera has shifted slightly between the shots. Gaza and Makoto 4 (both 2009) are photographs of the bass player and singer from the Lisbon band If Lucy Fell.

These portraits are part of a new development in Stehli’s work where she shifts her position to a viewpoint behind the camera. The first of these was the video The Heart Pavilion (2007) made on a trip with the artist Dan Graham and friend Kathy Battista to see the Pavilion in a collector’s garden in Philadelphia. In these documentary videos, Stehli records other artists in relation to their work, in some cases participating in the dialogue or directing the action, but always remaining behind the camera.

Over the last year Stehli has been making a series of works with the band If Lucy fell. For the exhibition at Raum mit Licht the video If lucy fell 10/4/09, a recording of their show at Santiago Alquimista in Lisbon, will be exhibited. In contrast to the stillness of the black and white photographs, all of Stehli’s video works are fi lmed hand held, in one take describing her constant movement as she circles her subject. For If lucy fell 10/4/09, Stehli was on stage with the band throughout the show recording close up the working process of the musicians, her movement determined by the energy of the band‘s live performance.

Jemima Stehli, born in 1961, lives in and works in London. Jemima Stehli’s work has been exhibited extensively over the last ten years and is represented in public and private collections throughout Europe and the United States. Forthcoming projects include the publication of a book of collaborative works made with the English artist John Hilliard who showed with Raum mit Licht last November, including essays by Mark Francis, Simon Baker and Giorgio Vezzotti. Stehli’s recent awards include an invitation for a five-month residency in Gothenburg Sweden for the Iaspis 2009 program.