Laura Letinsky @ The Photographers’ Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery presents the solo show of Canadian artist Laura Letinsky. The exhibition encompasses works from her latest (2010-2011) homonymous series ‘Ill Form and Void Full’ as well as from her 2006-2009 body of work included in the ‘To Say It Isn’t So’ and ‘Fall’ series.

Spanning the gallery’s fourth floor, Letinsky’s large scale colour photographs continue her exploration in the still life domain. In her latest work she engages the photography of a minimalistic assemblage of objects which comprise of both real items set next to or against photographs (or printed cut-outs) of items. The white background indicating a table top, a table cloth or any other surface of unknown (and probably unimportant) identity create a perception of floatation while concurrently the viewer is indirectly prompted to focus on each individual component within each photograph.

The co-existence and co-appearance of real three dimensional objects with two dimensional photographs triggers the emergence of obscure illusions when inspecting each work from a closer distance and in detail. We begin to question what the real object and what the photograph of a real object may be within these syntheses. But we are soon to realise that we stand before a photograph with an ‘end-product’ that consequently remains the same. Letinsky, clearly influenced by Gertrude Stein’s work, wittingly addresses here that a photograph of a photograph is still a photograph. Similarly, a photograph of a real object preserves exactly the same pictorial properties and by demonstrating this we receive a visually equal image regardless of the initial participating components.

Letinsky’s visual language also places emphasis on the consumerism of modern life and on issues related to identity as a result of food consumption. The setting of her ‘environments’ encapsulates the memory of a past event, the detritus of human presence.

The surreal essence of Letinsky’s photographic character is balanced with the objective statement of the series title. ‘Ill Form and Void Full’ deciphers the trope of her work, whose narrative flirts with the omnipresence of the construction-deconstruction diptych of form and the parallel collapse of time and matter. Kostas Prapoglou