PR: Tabula Rasa



artists: Anouk Kruithof, Sara Skorgan Teigen, & Sonja Thomsen
curated by Ariel Shanberg

on view: February 8 – March 30,  2014
opening reception: Saturday February 8, 2014 from 5-7pm

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is pleased to open its 2014 exhibition program with the group exhibition, Tabula Rasa. Curated by CPW’s Executive Director Ariel Shanberg, the exhibition will be on view from February 8 – March 30, 2014.

Tabula Rasa, which is Latin for ‘blank slate’, brings forth three dynamic visual artists whose explorations pull at the seams of photographic language. Anouk Kruithof, Sara Skorgan Teigen, and Sonja Thomsen represent a growing interest in forgoing the practice of injecting new images into the overflowing stream that subsumes us on a daily basis. Rather, through their site-specific photo-based installations, each expands on the language of memory, the veracity of photographic impression, and the infinite space held in between and around the photograph.

Through their practice, the artists in Tabula Rasa subvert the imposing and hegemonic nature of the traditional exhibition space directly engaging and subsuming its walls. In combining elements of audience engagement, the temporal, and site-specific spectacle, they also cumulatively transcend the borders of what is a knowingly arcane object – the photographic print – exploring the literal and figurative space in and around the photograph. The cavernous voids, which consistently appear in each of their photo-based installations, reveal the physical, emotional, and intellectual gaps within photography a terrain that ultimately serves as a mirror to our own projections.

For Dutch artist Anouk Kruithof (New York City/Berlin, Germany) photography serves as the starting point for infinite possibilities. Spanning the width of CPW’s main gallery, Kruithof’s 30 foot long Wall of Fading Memory, a color-coded construct consisting of hundreds of photographs taken by the artist and cropped in to single color bricks, untethered from their narrative meaning, floats across the space. Its presence, undeniably cloud-like, hovers elusively, conjuring meanings and associations while remaining ungraspable. The inherent weight of the photographic archive is further mined through Never Ending Pile of a Past and Fragmented Entity two pieces that bring to mind the interactive works of Cuban-American artist Félix González-Torres (1957 – 1996) while remaining steeped in the playful and self-referential irony that pervades Kruithof’s practice and simultaneously seduces and confounds viewers.

With her Wall Explorations, which combine drawing and photography, abstract and natural forms, Sara Skorgan Teigen (Oslo, Norway) facilitates an unending conversation. With each articulation, whether rendered as an installation, collage, or artist book, she continuously re-morphs the primal elements. Re-constituting relationships, scale, and dimensionality, Teigen’s temporary works suggest contemporary cave drawings, an attempt to link ourselves with what was, what is and what will be. Each carnation of her work ultimately acts like an aquifer for the flow of ideas and observations – momentarily contained but never fixed.

Lacuna a site-specific installation by Sonja Thomsen (Milwaukee, WI) visually articulates the gaps of memory and time that are part of the medium’s legacy. Evoking an antiquarian “smart wall”, a selection of images Thomsen arranges directly on the wall are created as removable stacks, which visitors are invited to take, shifting and altering the inherent nature of the installation from the moment the first image is peeled off. As the stacks recede, the specifics fade, ultimately leaving an embossed impression, articulating the universal over the local, on a clean surface.

With each installation, the cognitive maps that the artists in Tabula Rasa renders, invite social interaction and provide us as viewers and consumers of imagery the opportunity to engage in spatial thinking and decode. The tactical analogue nature and experiential qualities surrounding their works notably defies the propensity towards the screen as the fetishized mode of image delivery today. Collectively Kruithof, Teigen, and Thomsen stand on the edge of photographic language and practice, reconstituting the medium and its place in the 21st century.

Press Images & Interview Requests
To request high resolution images for press reproduction and interviews with the exhibition artists or curator, contact CPW by clicking here.

Top Image: ©Anouk Kruithof, Wall of Fading Memory (detail), 2012, 10’ x 30’ Courtesy the artist and BoetzelaerNispen Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands