11 October 2010

Appropriation: Julia Curtin

"RESETTLEMENT focuses on the vernacular architecture, the transient, makeshift structures inhabited by the migratory victims of the 1930's Great Depression. By sampling images from the Farm Security Administration catalogue, a vast collection of works by photographers (e.g. Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange) that became central to defining aspects of the documentary and images that are embedded in the history of photography, I have deconstructed and subsequently reconstructed these buildings to form a three dimensional model of the settlement depicted in the original image. Through this process I attempt to open up a contemporary space for the interpretation of this work."
(Extract from Artist's website)

The homes in 'Resettlement' are fragile and temporary, existing to be photographed, a medium that enables them a legacy of their own. Curtin, through her own labored means of building a structure that exists longer due to documentation than because of its physical and structural integrity, pays homage to these homes that once were as well as the WPA photographers who first captured them.

 Tulare County, California. Cheap auto camp housing for citrus workers, 1930s by Dorothea Lange

House without windows, home of sharecropper cut-over farmers of Mississippi bottoms, Missouri. No 1. by Julia Curtin

I think that Julia Curtin work is very conceptual and well executed. However, without the use of the old photographs as inspiration, this concept of recreating old houses, and the final product that has come of these ideas, would be completely lost.  Without the background knowledge given to the viewer, I would not call these images photographs.  This is probably because it pushes the boundaries of what we would usually refer to as photography as, although it is a photo, the subject of the image is not a very interesting subject.

However, in saying all this, as I mentioned before, I do like these images for their simplicity, idea and the overall concept of the appropriation used here.  

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