If you're an artist, what kind of art do you make?
Conceptual, Digital, Painting, Performance, Photography, Video
Irene Caesar is an artist-provocateur who creates absurd performances documented by photography to put to the test major concepts of the human civilization. Her artwork is in three American Museums: Bayly Museum of the Virginia University, the Duke University Museum of Art, and Zimmerli Museum of the Rutgers University. In 2011, she will have a major solo show “A New History of Ideas in Pictures” at the Moscow House of Photography, one of the most important Photography Museums in Europe. The selection of this show will be exhibited at the Eduard Planting Gallery in Amsterdam. Irene Caesar was born in 1963 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She lives in the NYC.
I only do staged photography, even if I shoot on location. I am not interested in “f/64” documentary reportage, because I believe that reality is a creation of collective and individual consciousness, and the two-dimensional ready-mades of everday existence are simply a thin illusory surface hiding the reality where people truly dwell. However, my take on staged photography is radically different from any staged photography known to me. The difference is that I stage action produced in performances which very closely resemble theatre and cinema. Usually, art photographers who create staged photography use 8x10 or 4x5 view cameras that do not have automatic focus and require subjects to be very still in front of the camera. This carries on into the aesthetics of imaging. The too-static staged photography seems to lack expressiveness and defeats its goals. My goal is to create images of performances that make people live in front of the camera in a more intense way than how they live in their everyday lives. In this sense, my staged photography is a counter-staged photography, as well as it is a counter-documentary reportage. And that is why my images are not simply movie stills, which are the artificial and mannerist cuts from externalized action.
I define my style as theatre of absurd documented by photographic means. The project “A New History of Ideas in Pictures” includes works done in the studio in the form of absurd performances. Each image is a part of a set of images (usually 3 to 5), which represents the entire continuous performance. The overall objective of the project is an ambitious programme to evaluate the major concepts of human civilization, like human nature, the origin of man, the universal good and evil, the Divine father and the Divine mother, the sacred and the profane, the sublime and the bestial, race, gender and its ambiguities, ego and alter-ego, fetish, super-hero, objectification of women, modes of mass consciousness like modes of seriality and patriarchal domination, modes of inferiority and suffering, and the attitudes towards death.
I predict that very soon humanity, as we know it now, will cease to exist, being changed by computational biology. We have little time left to document humanity in its pure form - with all its suffering and imperfection.
Artists I like
Peter Bruegel The Elder
“The Templar” by Irene Caesar (conceptual portrait of Edmund Voyer, the Prior of the Knights Templar, NYC) on the cover of the book by Ekaterina Dais "John Fowles and mysterial tradition," М.: Club Castalie, 2011. – 244 p. (published April), which is included into the list of the best books of the 3rd week of April by the "Nezavisimaia Gazeta," Russia. version:…
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