Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sculpture and Nina Katchadourian

On long flights across the globe, most people endure the confinement and boredom.

Nina Katchadourian makes art.
 One of Nina's biggest aesthetic skills is her ability to be present to the moment and really see what's in front of her. (Her other good art skills are her sense of humor, knowledge of art history, and a deep curiosity.)
All photos by Nina Katchadourian ©2012 used with permission of the artist.

She calls this series, Seat Assignment: Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. 
There is something so touching and funny about this series.

Who hasn't played dress up or struck a pose in a mirror? 
Or has needed to have a good talk with yourself in a mirror in the bathroom?
Who hasn't felt like screaming "Get me OFF of this plane RIGHT NOW!" 

But who goes into the bathroom and transforms "the fanny gasket" toilet seat covers,
turning them into linen and lace?

Who evokes the hardships of Flemish Calvinists, hard lives hundreds of years ago by using 21st century cell phones and paper and her own expressive face?  

Nina Katchadourian, that's who.

Nina's website is here. Her art is represented by Catherine Clark Gallery.

Nina writes,"While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone.

The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight.

I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style.

I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory's own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone.

At the Dunedin Public Art gallery, the photos were framed in faux-historical frames and hung on a deep red wall reminiscent of the painting galleries in museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Nina is brilliant.

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