• gerard van weyenbergh

Reflections on desire by photographer Christopher Williams @ Zwirner Gallery

Reflections on desire, the photographs of the American artist presented at David Zwirner ironically use the codes of the advertising imagination.

Paris. Christopher Williams' last exhibition in France dates back to the one organized in 1999 by the Marian Goodman gallery in Paris. Also the focus proposed by the David Zwirner gallery on the American artist, one of the most influential in the field of conceptual photography, is an event. The choice of works, some of which come from his major photographic project "For Example: Eighteen lessons on industrial society", is also part of the catch-up session with respect to the exhibition "Footwear (Adapter for Use)". , presented in 2020 in the brand's New York spaces and composed exclusively of recent and mostly unpublished photographs. In Paris,

The cluster of beautiful bright red apples that greets the visitor to the David Zwirner gallery figured in this monograph, as did the bright yellow soap in hands above a sink or the black and white portrait of Mustafa Kinte (Gambia) a Makina camera in hand.

Gathered today under the title "Standard pose", these photographs recall Christopher Williams' interest in "conventional, ordinary, normative images that belong to the public imagination".and which he plays with. The visitor understands this very quickly. Behind the perfection of each image filters the irony, the criticism of our consumer society. These images of objects, people or landscapes are presented as reflections on the desires they arouse. In color or black and white, each one appropriates the mode of production and the codes of the images of advertising, fashion or architecture while their lengthy title lists, in an equally charged way, technical characteristics and shooting conditions.

Trained at the California Institute of the Art (CalArts) in the late 1970s with the first wave of conceptual artists such as John Baldessari or Douglas Huebler, Christopher Williams, now professor of photography at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf where taught by Bernd and Hilla Becher, has been developing a work for forty years drawing inspiration from reading magazines or newspapers of all kinds. The meaning of a photograph does not depend here only on its content, but also on its use, what the viewer can see in it, and the context of its presentation. The use of old mobile exhibition panels for his hanging of works at the David Zwirner gallery is in this respect a mise en abyme of the previous use of these supports by the artist and the traces generated.

Le Journal des Arts Christine Coste.

video: 1 hour Platform Christopher Williams