The Space of the Encounter
The Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago is very pleased to present works by Alumni from both our graduate and undergraduate programs for our 2011 Alumni Exhibition.
The fact that photography captures time is no doubt a truism that does not bear repeating; but what exactly is caught in photography's aspic? Is it simply an always already dead-past that is given over to the mechanical workings of memory, laced with sentiments that may be variously bitter or sweet? Or, does the photographer's lens potentially draw-out something more active, more quizzical and less saccharine or mired in a nostalgia for the past.
The artists in the exhibition use photography to map what might be termed the space of the encounter, a space whereby encounters are not only framed but are enacted through their photographic project. The encounters here move between the personal and intimate to the larger public sphere and an almost mythic sense of belonging; pulling the viewer into a new relationship with the image. Rather than shutting the viewer off from a closed past, these works participate in what art historian Joseph Leo Koerner has described as Erlebniskunst (literally, experience-art), art that places the viewer in the very moment of encounter.