For her first solo exhibition in the UK since 2003, contemporary British photographer Clare Strand will present her two newest bodies of work at Brancolini Grimaldi’s recently launched space in Mayfair on 27 May 2011.
Known for her wit and irony, Strand is drawn to various types of unconventional photography. Taking inspiration from a formal repertoire of forensic photography and instruction manuals, the conventions of signage, the secondary position of aesthetics in utilitarian photography, and the mechanics of spirit photography, her work treads the uncertain boundaries between the expected and the absurd.
Sleight brings together Strand’s latest series, Ten Most Least Wanted and Skirts, both of which rely as much on the hidden as they do the immediately apparent. The word sleight is often associated with trickery and conjuring (a sleight of hand), but as a homophone (slight) it describes something marginal or hard to perceive. Strand utilises both of these meanings in the role of conjurer, allowing the audience to marvel at the unseen or invisible that necessitate her illusions.
Comprised of ten vernacular photographs encapsulated in acrylic and displayed in a cabinet, Ten Least Most Wanted features the artist’s favourite images taken from her research scrapbooks to make up a coherent series. However, Strand refutes this coherence by turning the pictures over to display the images’ reverse - revealing only chosen fragments of images. Strand manipulates these chosen fragments, through which her viewers must glimpse an imagined whole.
Skirts, a new black and white typology, depicts a series of tables dressed with material. The series alludes to what is not shown (a hidden structure) and once again poses the questions central to Strand’s work - what is seen and what is hidden? The skirting also adopts a strangely feminine and sexual nature; what is under the Skirt becoming one possible tangential path in the viewers’ imagination. Skirts celebrates the absurdity in social conventions and the intrigue of the banal and functional. These new works bring a sculptural quality to Strand’s practice while playing with the ideas of concealment and denial.
Alongside these new bodies of work, Brancolini Grimaldi will showcase selected photographs from Strand’s extensive oeuvre, all of which examine the functional and utilitarian uses of photography. The usually descriptive becomes a vehicle for mischief, magic and the supernatural; through her practice, Strand undermines the conventions of photography and makes the everyday appear surreal, the commonplace absurd.
Notes to the editor
Born in 1973, Clare Strand studied at the University of Brighton, followed by an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in 1998. Strand’s photographs have been featured in numerous publications and in 2009 Steidl published a 112-page monograph on her work. She has received international recognition for solo exhibitions held at Museum Folkwang, Essen and the Fotografins Hus, Stockholm, as well as Tate Britain; the National Media Museum, Bradford; Huis Marseille, Amsterdam; The Photographer's Gallery, London and the Hassleblad Center, Göteborg.