The first exhibition in the United States of the work of French artist Suzanne Lafont, Projects 37: Suzanne Lafont includes work from two recent photographic series, both in color and black and white.
Although Lafont’s large and dynamic works concentrate on the face, they are not traditional portraits—explorations of specific identities—but investigations into the nature of appearance itself. In her gestural and cinematic series, Lafont attempts to find a purely visual mode of communication. One series included in the exhibition is the black-and-white work L’Argent (Money) of 1991, a tableau consisting of six photographs. As the camera records the furtive exchange of money, image and narrative develop simultaneously.
The exhibition also includes works from Lafont’s color series Choeur de Grimaces (Chorus of Grimaces) of 1992. These close-up images—either eerily blank or intensely emotional—seem to illustrate, rather than depict, the experience of particular feelings.
The artist’s most recent work draws from a spectrum of sources from art history, philosophy, and contemporary culture. In her essay for the brochure accompanying the exhibition, Lynn Zelevansky writes, “[Lafont’s] is an art that embraces dichotomies: modernism and archaism; nature and culture; formalism and expressionism are not seen as mutually exclusive terms. She employs oppositional concepts not as ends in themselves, but rather because they allow her to present an alternative vision unconcerned with the ’truth’ of a given approach…Paradox is meant to generate in the viewer a sense of changing circumstances and evolving definitions that corresponds to, and makes immediate, day-to-day experience.”
Organized by Lynn Zelevansky, curatorial assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.
The Museum’s Projects series, coordinated by Robert Storr, curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, is an interdepartmental effort involving staff from all six curatorial departments.