Even philoso­phers dis­agree on what it is: Is space an en­tity unto it­self? An en­tity be­tween one ob­ject and another? Some part of a con­cep­tual fab­ric of ideas? I think it can be all of these.

BOMB Magazine - - ART— BARBARA KASTEN -

repo­si­tion­ing the pho­to­graph by con­struct­ing struc­tures in space. Although many of the ques­tions that I was ask­ing about the pho­to­graphic im­age are not dis­sim­i­lar from those that artists in New York were ask­ing. I was work­ing in a very dif­fer­ent con­text in Cal­i­for­nia—also, I am a bit older than them. Even though my Con­struct se­ries ul­ti­mately points back to the con­cep­tual ques­tion of the con­struc­tion of the pho­to­graph, it is less con­cerned with the state of media than with ma­te­rial.

LH: I love that Agnes Martin comes to mind too, the deep con­tem­pla­tion that her work em­anates—which is also a part of your work. I look for­ward to the ICA ex­hi­bi­tion to be able to spend time in front of your many bod­ies of work. As in Agnes Martin’s work, there is a life­long en­gage­ment with some as­pect of ge­om­e­try, or with the body’s lim­its—

BK:

Right, right.

LH: Or with time. Can we go into this more ethe­real space? I’m cu­ri­ous how you would de­scribe these ques­tions, or de­sires, that call you to con­tinue to con­struct your com­po­si­tions with the same in­ter­est in line or us­ing the same ma­te­ri­als.

BK: Even though the same ma­te­rial may ap­pear in sev­eral bod­ies of work, its role is dif­fer­ent in each one. I first used the fiber­glass screen, for in­stance, in the Pho­to­genic Paint­ing pho­tograms (1974–76). The in­her­ent prop­er­ties of the screen pro­duced moiré pat­terns that are ephemeral and beau­ti­ful—the an­tithe­sis of an in­dus­trial build­ing fab­ric meant to cover win­dows, which has an ob­vi­ously prac­ti­cal pur­pose, not an aes­thetic one. When I used it again in 2010, in Scenes, it had a re­la­tion­ship to the­atri­cal light­ing pro­jec­tions. In each sit­u­a­tion, I learn some­thing about the ma­te­rial that en­cour­ages me to ex­plore it fur­ther.

As far as the in­tel­lec­tual ques­tions that pro­pel me, there might be some that I ask of my­self or of the ma­te­rial. How­ever, mine is more of an in­tu­itive process. In the re­cent work, my un­der­ly­ing ques­tion is whether it is pos­si­ble to make an ab­stract pho­to­graph. The cam­era re­quires a sub­ject. I avoid rep­re­sen­ta­tional ob­jects and se­lect clear acrylic planes that block light and there­fore cre­ate shadow.

Ge­om­e­try is also a ve­hi­cle for me. I hope it doesn’t sound friv­o­lous to say ge­om­e­try is in ev­ery as­pect ofmy life. I am a ter­ri­ble per­fec­tion­ist, fromthe ar­range­ment of ob­jects in my home, to the pre­ci­sion I at­tempt to achieve in my work. I’m try­ing to stay true to who I am. I sim­ply do what my gut tells me to do and it hap­pens to feel good when I get to a junc­ture of ideas that res­onate for me. They all seem to hap­pen to have some sim­i­lar­ity as I go on.

LH: I see a quite beau­ti­ful thread through­out the work—it might come from a place that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need to be de­scribed. I ap­pre­ci­ate that you pro­tect that. I wouldn’t say that to have an in­quiry in one’s work means you have to have a for­mula, a set idea, or some type of struc­tured path.

BK: I envy peo­ple who have a vi­sion that can be iso­lated as a cer­tain con­cept and fol­low it. Sol Le­Witt is an artist I ad­mire for his con­sis­tency in var­i­ous forms, from paint­ing to sculp­ture. He sticks with it.

LH: I want to ask you a lit­tle bit more on ge­om­e­try. One of the se­ries that I’m drawn to is Stu­dio Con­structs (2007). Maybe this is be­cause of my own work, since I have an in­ter­est in ex­plor­ing ge­om­e­try. I love that it pushes back onto the cam­era. I’m look­ing at a gor­geously com­posed pho­to­graph; it’s bal­anced and is show­ingme these prin­ci­ples that also make the im­age pos­si­ble, if that makes sense. It’s not ad­dress­ing chem­istry, which also makes it vis­i­ble, but the prin­ci­ples—the mir­ror­ing ef­fect, the re­frac­tion of light em­bed­ded within the tool of the ana­log cam­era. There’s a

left: TRANS­PO­SI­TION 8, 2014, Fu­ji­flex dig­i­tal print, 60 × 48 inches.

op­po­site: TRANS­PO­SI­TION 7, 2014, Fu­ji­flex dig­i­tal print, 60 × 48 inches. Cour­tesy of the artist, Bor­to­lami, and the In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia.

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