Deschenes's work expands upon photographic concepts, investigating the relationships between the mechanics of seeing, image-making processes, and modes of display. In Tilt/Swing (360° field of vision, version 1), the artist gives physical form to the concept illustrated in a 1935 drawing by Herbert Bayer, a Bauhaus-trained graphic designer, architect, and sculptor who designed The Museum of Modern Art's 1938 exhibition Bauhaus 1919–1928. In this diagram, Bayer imagined an arrangement of artworks on all six walls of a room, including the floor and ceiling, to create what he described as "an inclusive picture of all [viewpoint] possibilities," inviting the viewer to look in any direction, rather than simply straight ahead, as in a traditional gallery presentation.
Deschenes has brought Bayer's principle of "extended vision" to life with six photograms (photographic images made without using a camera) created by exposing photosensitive paper to the subtly varying light from the moon, stars, and surrounding buildings. The photograms act as hazy mirrors, reflecting fragments of their gallery setting back onto the other panels and onto the gallery itself, and at the same time accumulating traces of these settings as their surfaces oxidize in response to shifting atmospheric conditions. In this way, the work retains an ever-growing memory of the situations in which it is exhibited, belying the notion that a photograph represents a single moment that has passed.
Gallery label from Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, June 11–September 28, 2014.