The artist appropriates historical photographic tactics to tackle the genres of feminist science fiction and queer abstraction.
By focusing on the thought of anomalies in the photographic course of action, the artist broaches the issue of illustration, of the photographic best and of the representation of actuality.
Nelson’s operates are centered on pictures from NASA’s archives, as nicely as on the stories of writers like Alice B Sheldon – who wrote under a male pseudonym.
The artist offers a landscape combining utopias, area-time vacation, science fiction and feminist theories.
The exhibition contains current functions as perfectly as new productions by the American artist, who spent several weeks as artist-in-residence in Saint-Fons in March 2022.
For her initially solo exhibition in France, at the CAP Saint-Fons, the American artist Brittany Nelson will be presenting operates from the series Starbear and Tiptree’s Lifeless Birds, new productions and a new online video which will be proven for the initial time at the Art Centre.
“I want I experienced a darkish sea” paves the way for the retrospective that will be devoted to her at the Fotogaleriet in Oslo (Norway) in autumn 2022.
The exhibition is built close to the figure of Alice B. Sheldon, regarded beneath the male pseudonym of James Tiptree – a prolific author of science-fiction novels in the 1970s – who was closeted. Desire, gender identity and the great loneliness concealed guiding an alter moi are at the heart of her correspondence with a different thriving writer – Ursula LeGuin – for whom Sheldon produced deep and unspoken emotions.
For numerous many years, Nelson has been intrigued in this abundant corpus and has done research in the vast archives of the feminist science-fiction assortment at the University of Oregon. The final result is the gelatin silver prints of the Starbear sequence, presented at the CAP in big-format prints, where the artist erases the text to leave only the words and phrases of passion supposed for LeGuin, like furtive appearances on the photographic surface area. In “I would like I had a dark sea”, which presents its title to the exhibition, the artist inverts the image, managing the textual content as a landscape where by phrases float on a vast black floor, a dim sea, a desert inhabited by Sheldon’s solitude.
The internet pages of the writer’s notebook emerge from regions of mild or shadow in the Tiptree’s Lifeless Birds series, wherever holographic replica – an historical approach the place refraction and diffraction create optical illusions – presents a new dimension to the textual content, a depth that is both official and symbolic. As letters from the earlier that talk of the long run, the holograms bring us nevertheless closer to Sheldon’s intimate universe. She referred to the girls she liked (but who turned down her) as “dead birds,” consolidating the experience of an unfulfilled motivation.
Queer abstraction, SF, the history of images and the appropriation of photos taken from room explorations coexist and react to every other in Nelson’s function. Science fiction – the place of anticipation – is the place of all alternatives for feminist authors a area to feed the queer imagination and to draft the story of new strategies of lifestyle. Brittany Nelson’s do the job is portion of this legacy, which worries a standardized technique of manufacturing images and reading the world. Working with historic methods for the representation of reality, she speaks of the future, be it a NASA probe’s solitary wanderings in area or the isolation of a female forced into a sexual identity that was not her very own.
Sheldon’s epistolary journey echoes the extended journey of the Option rover. In Option final Graphic, a contact sheet print, the artist levels the final impression sent by the probe right after several yrs of solitary explorations on Mars (the primary mission was only supposed to past a few months). This final “breath” is an incomplete and mysterious image, where by the static grey is concluded by a black band. Incommunicability, inadequacy. Stop of transmission.
Nelson appropriates the graphic and reproduces it in various shades of grey and intensities of light, in research of the horizon line of a distant landscape, to detect a message that never ever attained its place. The record of images, metaphor and science-fiction converge in this impression, which in itself condenses (the obsessions) and the themes pricey to the artist.
Tintype, bromoil, mordançange are examples of the strategies of Brittany Nelson’s universe they are scarce and only practiced right now by a handful of experts. Nelson masters these procedures, but only to a particular diploma she even alters their study course because it is not sufficient to resurrect an aged strategy – says the artist – it will have to be updated and made into a little something new, relevant (…). I have a deep information of the history of photography and the place these procedures come from, and then I make a decision to ignore it.
The history of pictures, with its scientific protocols, is the great terrain to re-study the two the total custom of impression output and a politics of illustration. My steps are a queering of the materials – insists Nelson, simply because the introduction of an error, an anomaly into the approach is symbolically a refusal to comply with the rule, to do the job in the direction of its collapse.
In the new video I can rarely bear when it’s more than, I can barely bear when it commences, the world’s largest telescope also collapses into a cloud of dust. The words and phrases of Alice Sheldon appear once again, an ode to motivation and its incommunicability: “I look to have completed all my travelling in nations that no more time exist”.
Brittany Nelson’s pictures get us in other places, the two geographically and temporally, and the photograph – the quintessential witness of the past, that has been – is transformed in this article into a vision of the potential.
At CAP – Centre d’arts plastiques de Saint-Fons, Lyon
right up until May possibly 22, 2022