When you look beyond the surface of a Lynne Cohen (CA, 1944-2014) photograph, you enter a subtly absurd and surreal universe. She exclusively photographed interiors for four decades: spas, military facilities, classrooms, laboratories, etc. What goes on in the minds of the designers and users of these spaces? There are no humans in these scenes, only cryptic traces that once there were.
This retrospective highlights our species’ obsession with understanding and control, topics that are particularly relevant in the current climate of coronavirus uncertainty. While Lynne Cohens photographs are unadulterated registrations of reality, the attentive viewer is rewarded with clues and contradictions. This is not a world of easy escapes but rather a claustrophobic one with a deceptively simple appearance.
Cohen’s work is placed here in a context of like-minded artists such as Guillaume Bijl, Thomas Demand and Marcel Duchamp. They often take the readymade as their point of departure: what happens, they ask, when you take something mundane and pull it out of context?
This retrospective is based on a concept and research by Karin Hanssen and Bert Danckaert, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp.
Curators: Bert Danckaert & Joachim Naudts
Artists: Richard Artschwager, Eugène Atget, Guillaume Bijl, Lynne Cohen, Thomas Demand, Marcel Duchamp