Medium and Materiality
Opening: Wednesday, 26 September 2012 at 6 pm
Exhibition: 26 September to 17 November 2012
We are pleased to announce the exhibition by Curtis Mann Medium and Materiality, held simultaneously at the galleries Monica De Cardenas in Milan and Luce in Turin.
The works of this young American artist, who has gained international acclaim at the Whitney Biennial of 2010, are photographic images partially modified or erased by means of a technical process developed by the artist. In Medium and Materiality Mann displays several new groups of lens-less photographic works. Through a series of bleaching, cutting and folding techniques, Mann continues to engage in the delicate, purposeful effacement of photographic paper. Mann “unbuilds” the photographic materials as a paradoxical means to comprehend their structural potential.
His early works are composed by found images, taken from the web, showing current events of historical importance. Curtis Mann covers certain parts of the images with a transparent protective varnish and then sprays them with acids that alter the colors, at times almost completely erasing them. The original photographic image is thus transformed. Some parts remain visible while others vanish, covered by an almost painterly layer. After the process the photographic paper becomes dense and materic, certain parts of the image are reinforced while others are partially concealed or disappear completely. But unlike in digital manipulation, in this case the physical procedure that leads to the final result is clearly visible.
In some of the more recent works, the reworking of the photographic surface is reached through the direct manipulation of the photographic paper, introducing rips and cuts to achieve an almost sculptural three-dimensional effect. Inspired by the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978), who often cut and removed entire sections of abandoned buildings, Curtis Mann “destructures” the photographic materials to gain a better understanding of their structural potential.
The artist’s curiosity explores the physical nature of photography, probing it deeply through its material breakdown. With erasures, ripping or folding of the paper, or through direct etching into the layers of emulsion, Mann creates different techniques with the intent to enter inside the photographic image, prying into the innermost character of the medium.
Born in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, Curtis Mann lives in Chicago. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (2009), the Whitney Biennial (2010) and the Metropolitan Museum in New York (2011) and in solo shows at the galleries of Kevi Gupta in Chicago, Almine Rech in Paris and Brussels, and Kuseneers in Antwerp. His first solo show in a museum is currently in progress at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem (NC).