The Approach E2 is pleased to present the first solo show in London by Sara VanDerBeek.
Sara VanDerBeek constructs small sculptures and collages from found images and objects. She photographs them and presents only the photograph as the end work. VanDerBeek shoots numerous photographs of each composition but selects only one print as the final work before disassembling the sculpture and each photograph becomes the permanent, lasting manifestation of her process. Collected images from various sources– advertisements, film stills, newspapers, postcards and exhibition catalogues– appear incarnated within the web of surreal visual connections that VanDerBeek weaves through her temporary structures.
Many of the works in ‘The Principle of Superimposition’ use a manual process of superimposing images. In place of digital manipulation VanDerBeek uses techniques such as overlapping, splicing and perspective to create the visual effect. In wanting to make the transitive moment concrete, the act of superimposition is physically rendered through the use of collage and the shifting screen structures. In a similar way to a filmic space where the superimposition occurs when one element rests in front of the other, in addressing the view of the camera much of the space in VanDerBeek’s images becomes frontal and compressed. The determined perspective of frieze sculptures is also an important influence throughout, most specifically in the series of plaster pieces Four Photographers. Structures are created and arranged for the camera and hence control the way in which the viewer sees the three-dimensional situations. The transition from object to photograph provides a shifting sense of scale. The tension between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional aspects of the work in this show is pushed more than ever before in Vanderbeek’s work, as everything rests within a very contained space.
Through the use of collage VanDerBeek suggests a feeling of movement that echoes the way images fade from one to the next as they would in a film, but in each piece the movement has been caught at a particular moment or sequence. Working in series and multi-part works, the memory of one image follows to the next. The placement of images and the repetition of forms within the photographs move the viewer through the work and around the room. The black of a darkened theatre and closed eyes appear in all of the images and are a connecting thread. Some of the images are eaten away by the black, so that like a quilt that is falling apart, the images fade and break apart in the shadows. In works such as Delaunay the black of the shadows hangs over the structure much like a curtain or a cloth concealing and revealing the images. In the folding screen works, it seeps in from every edge.
VanDerBeek’s use of textiles, quilts and screens as a basis for designs of certain pieces in this show comes from her continued interest in utilitarian design and arts and crafts movements. With the sense of the handmade quality of the work also comes an inbuilt evaluation of the execution or rendering, and how much of the act of creation remains within the structure/composition and to what extent it is altered and refined by its capturing on film.
Recent Exhibitions: MOCA, Los Angeles, 2008 (forthcoming); Past-Forward, curated by Vincent Honroe, 176, London (2008); The Line of Time and the Plane of Now, Harris Lieberman and Wallspace, New York (2007), Strange Magic, Luhring Augustine, New York (2007); Curacion Geometrica, The Reliance, London (2007); Mirror in the sky, D’amelio Terras, New York (2006).