27 January - 25 March 2001

The works in FaceOn examine the relationship artists have with the subjects they represent through various strategies which give visibility to others, (often the displaced or dispossessed), and insist on us, the viewers, looking into the eyes and faces of these subjects. The selected artists are: Jennifer Bornstein, Roderick Buchanan, Adam Chodzko, Alfredo Jaar, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Philip Lorca DiCorcia.

Visitors to MK Gallery will be met with video and installation works, staged colour photographic tableaux, performance documentation film, and photographic work which has the initial appearance of family portraiture. Each image in the exhibition shows the subject to be consciously looking out to the audience or documents a direct contact between artist and subject.

Philip Lorca DiCorcia’s portraits of male prostitutes, drifters and drug addicts, all taken in a glowing early evening light along Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood are titled with the persons details and fee: Brent Booth: 21 Years Old, Des Moines, Iowa: $30. New York artist Jennifer Bornstein makes her work as an interloper. She approaches strangers and pretends a familial or physical bond, inviting them to have their photograph taken with her as if a family snapshot. Roderick Buchanan’s work Me and My Neighbours also introduces the artists’ presence into a family portrait and ‘positions cultural differences between photographer and subjects as desirable if not inevitable‘ (Craig Richardson). Mierle Laderman Ukeles countered the derogatory treatment of New York bin men by photographing herself shaking hands with 8500 ‘sanitation workers’. These images recall politicians’ ‘flesh-pressing’ rituals. Alfredo Jaar ‘resists the ephemerality of our encounter with refugee images’ in the mass media by photographing One Hundred Times Nguyen, repetitions of the portrait of Nguyen Thi Thuy, a Vietnamese asylum seeker in Hong Kong, with slight differences which form acompassionate narrative. Adam Chodzko brings together uncredited extras from Ken Russell’s film The Devils who address the camera and recount their experiences as extras while the film plays behind them, uniting the now middle-aged figures with their orgiastic film past.

This exhibition was originated by Site Gallery, Sheffield and has been co-curated by Mark Durden and Craig Richardson.

Press Release