Photographer and Filmmaker
“Anna Ehrenstein’s work ironically and humorously explores the possibilities and limitations of virtual reality to bridge the gaps created by eurocentrism, colonialism and racism.“
Jareh Das examines the artists interfering with the process of image-making through varied manual interventions, exposing the practice of photography as an increasingly multidisciplinary one.
Photography has the capacity to reveal, expose and make visible what is absent; not just in terms of the subject matter depicted, but also via visible processual traces that expose the manner of an artwork’s creation. Every fold, cut and brush stroke – either by physical or digital means – contributes to the freeing of an image from a fixed camera point or static frame.
Some of this ‘freeing from the frame’ can be found in Femke Dekkers’ experimental approach to image making. In her work, the artist explores these possibilities by using her studio and all of its surfaces – walls, floor and ceiling – to create images that merge photography with painting. These performative gestures in three-dimensional space leave their mark on the final photographic image. Her brushstrokes, made by tools of all sizes, add a geometric dimension to the artwork. Dekkers further complicates the process by cutting up and rearranging images (including shots of her studio in different configurations) as abstract compositions with infinite possibilities.
Stephanie Jamieson also employs repetitive and performative methods in her work, though in the form of folding. The gesture of “the fold” exposes both the labour and technical process of image making, evident in her works Pink Folds, Tactile Sensibilities and The Reluctant Mute. Jamieson describes her approach as ‘a jarring paradox of repetition that, on the one hand, enables one to remember (think mind games and muscle memory), and on the other, serves as a distraction and a strategy for allowing one to forget.’ Here Jamieson explores the recurring motif of the fold, one that writer and critic Yve Lomax describes as a temporary status as the space between two parts.
Unlike a cut that severs and separates, the fold stretches. This gestural act highlights the materiality of the photographic print, as well as the performative process played out in the darkroom. In this space, gestures of folding and unfolding simultaneously contain and hide, expose and erase, as seen in Folding In from The Reluctant Mute series. By contrast, in Tactile Sensibilities, Jamieson manipulates undeveloped film to inscribe patterns onto light-sensitive paper. The final outcome is left open to chance, with each print emerging as a relic of the processes that created them.
For Marleen Sleeuwits, interior spaces hold traces of daily occurrences that can be scrutinised, photographed and manipulated. It is as if she is asking through these images: How do building interiors “act” and how do these performances construct a particular definition of the situation? Nondescript, liminal environments – be it vacant zones in airport terminals, unoccupied corridors of hotels or empty rooms in office buildings – offer inspiration for the artist’s self-built installations that themselves blur the boundaries between the real and the imagined. Rooms that evoke strongly absent bodies, beings and objects allow viewers to insert themselves into imagined narratives within these spaces. In Interior no.39 for example, one can see that the artist has painstakingly created individual cut-out circles across the room’s walls and ceilings, leaving clear traces of the intervention in the final image.
Distinctive in appearance, the works of Dekkers, Jamieson and Sleeuwits lay bare a similarly experimental approach to image-making. Abstract realities stemming from conceptual ideas leave much to the viewer’s interpretation. With each artist blurring the performative with the real to focus on the “doing” aspects of their practice, the results invite the viewer to engage with how images exceed their frames.
Dr Jareh Das researches, writes and curates diverse visual arts projects centred on the contemporary. Between 2013-2017, she worked as a PhD Research Curator at The Arts Catalyst London that was part of an Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded doctorate titled 'Curating Art and Science: New Methods and Sites of Production and Display,' offered in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London's Geography department. Jareh was awarded her doctorate in July 2018 for curatorial work and her thesis 'Bearing Witness: On Pain in Performance' which explored through artist case studies, the multiple ways pain shatters fixed positions of the male body via performance, photography, and in some cases, illness. Jareh's research interests vary but the confluence of art-science, digital technologies, performance art, performativity, performance documentation and photography are currently at the fore.