The gallery will present a booth by Conrad Ventur which has been developed in conversation with the Estate of Kathleen White.
The installation will investigate the connection between technology and vision and specifically photography’s relationship to time and time passed. The installation presents never before seen photographs alongside the artist's first series of camera-less photographs.
Conrad Ventur is an American artist working in photography, video, and performance. Since 2000, Ventur has consistently taken immensely personal and instinctive photographs and films of his subjects – often those under threat of being forgotten or rewritten over time. The artist’s working process mirrors that of an ethnographer; immersing himself within these relationships for extended periods. His work reveals intimacy and trust with his subjects whilst his methods create personal documents of both the subject and the artist.
In 2014 artist Rafael Sánchez invited Ventur to live in the New York apartment on 1st Avenue that he had shared with his partner artist Kathleen White. White had recently died of cancer. Since that point the apartment has become a site where White’s presence is evoked and minded via the maintenance of the objects that remain and the acts of her grieving partner. For close to two and a half years Ventur sensitively engaged in the process of documenting and archiving the site and experience.
Throughout his practice Ventur explores the photographic process, the performative and temporal aspect of the medium, its relationship to truth and the way our visual consciousness overlaps memory. The durational approach of the artist’s practice - the daily documenting and revisiting of scenes, still lives and tableaux within the apartment - allow us the opportunity to look in a slower and more intense manner, emphasizing photography’s ability to both freeze and extend time. Photographs selected by the artist and a brand new series of cyanotypes capture, in ghostly negative form, objects that have played an important role in the recent history of the apartment.
The installation will invoke the history of camera-less photography, from its inception in the nineteenth century via its rebirth at the beginning of the twentieth century bought about by artists such as Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. They may bring to mind the collaborations between Rauschenberg and his then wife Susan Weils who introduced the artist to camera-less photography in the late 1940’s. Here, the actual one-to-one scale of the body and chosen objects – often flowers - silhouetted against the blue ground directly places the subject in their environment. Similarly Ventur’s photograms of the flowers presented to Kathleen by her friends, suspend and preserve a moment. As an imprint of a thing itself, the cyanotypes explores photography’s relationship to the indexical sign. Hung alongside photographs of the apartment, the installation encourages a conversation about photography’s ability to capture universal and abstract conditions.