1st June – 2nd July 2005
Anna Schwartz Gallery
“.….…Brief notes on the works. The show quite delicately recapitulates a sort of theme so there is a clear reciprocity between pieces though each of the three works is complete in itself.
Murder without adjectives is the latest stage of the work that was inaugurated by We are all monochromes now. Each of the 27 photographs has been altered by Photoshop, which I’ve deliberately deployed in the crudest, most direct way. Installed on the wall according to the punctuated intervals of Barthes’ text, they perform a visual choreography. Some images fold back on themselves, some are truncated, some exhibit holes, others bulge, parts of coats are repeated and displaced etc but all these distortions are related to the deadpan plainness of the coats and the left sleeve tucked in the pocket. They perform and mock identity as appearance. This is a “political work”. I continue to try and talk about the Detention Centers. Numbers, blankness, bureaucratic anonymity, desperate people denied embracing adjectives. Murder without adjectives then is a rictus of specification, process and processing. It parodies the idea of “expression” and the coats perform a kind of null & void.
The Underworld is based on the Orpheus/Eurydice story. Leading his wife out of Hades, Orpheus can’t resist the urge to look back and Eurydice is lost forever. This is also the story of asylum seekers and Barthes’ conception of photographic effect. Photography is invariably a looking back. The paradox of remembering which recreates loss anew. It is exactly this absence that animates the blank nothingness of the coats… their “absence of effect”, incarceration in the desert, the irretrievable loss of a world, our numbness as a culture.
The College of Cardinals is my life size portrait in which I offer the viewer my own head as a kind of “primitive gift”. This suggests Orpheus & Eurydice’s agglutination as images in the pool of Narcissus. I also had in mind Cardinal Ratzinger’s elevation to the Papacy as “profane Resurrection”… as the Gnostic version of Christ’s promise of return… his early form of photographic stasis! This is the self portrait as grim joke, as the embodiment of the nothingness of the photographic image, but it makes “punctum” talk to the gap between the other two works.”
Mike Parr, 2005