* 1962 in Winnipeg, CN
lives and works in Chicago
exhibitions at Michael Sturm Gallery:
It might be the end of a successful evening, a dinner for two or an invitation among friends. The parties in question have disappeared. All that remain are some sparse remnants: used cutlery, dirty plates, teeth marks in fruit, crumbs, and red wine stains on disheveled and crumpled tablecloths.
In her photographs Laura Letinsky stages detailed still lifes whose iconography seems arbitrary but has to be read as thoroughly causal. On the one hand, Letinsky takes up classic motifs of the still life—time and ephemerality—and makes them the true motif of her photography. On the other hand, she plays with a constructed spatiality and arranges the relicts of a dinner party in such a way that the objects perform balancing acts, floating over the edge of the table or just above a staged shadow.
The artist creates her special effects, vexations, and misunderstandings not in digital postproduction but entirely before the camera: by means of arrangement, lighting, and exposure times. Thus Letinsky retains photography’s reproductive quality, but at the same time she rejects the actual “that-has-been” (Roland Barthes). Nor does she provide information about what was there prior to the photograph, which is directly connected to the arranged still life before the camera. Or, as suggested by the evocative title of a group of works by Laura Letinsky from 2002 to 2004: “I did not remember I had forgotten.”