Saturday, September 9
DOCUMENT is pleased to inaugurate Gallery Two, a dedicated exhibition space for special projects with Polaroids an exhibition of works by Laura Letinsky. The exhibition coincides with the release of Time’s Assignation, a book devoted to the artist’s Polaroid works, realized between 1997 and 2008.
Laura Letinsky’s work transports us in time. Working with Polaroid Type 55, the renowned instant development process yielding a unique image, Letinsky photographs fruits, owers, food, utensils, and other fragments of everyday life. These interior spaces are a testament to their passing inhabitants, but only the ordinary, worn, used objects remain. Looking more closely, we notice the meticulous composition. The space that defines these domestic objects indicates that these pictures were not taken in a hurry but rather composed with care. Those who know Letinsky’s work will recognize in these her still lifes, a genre in which she has excelled since the 1990s. Like the objects depicted, these Polaroids too have undergone alterations. We see smears, ecks, and other marks atop the image that disrupt the photographed scene.
In Time’s Assignation, the impurities are as much a part of the image as is its subject. Letinsky is wont to work with a 4×5” camera, and like many photographers before the digital age, she used the Polaroid to make tests. This practical use was a technical aide, a way of obtaining a black-and-white preview that would subsequently be taken with the same camera for her color negatives of the same scene. Similar to a sketch, the Polaroid allowed Letinsky to explore the focus, time of exposure, and light, as well as overall composition. To reveal them to us today is a surprise; with these little images, we enter into the process of creation, the artist’s notebook.