Photo: Doublemix No. 45, 2015, 11.5 x 14 x 2.5 inches, digital pigment print with earthenware insert, framed.
Like leather and lace, photography and ceramics are an unlikely pair that work together perfectly by combining the thrill of the unexpected with the tension it fulfills. Who would have ever thought of such a hybrid of media? The French, going back to the days of Marcel Duchamp a century ago, and finding the spirit manifest once again in the work of Parisian artists Denis Darzacq and Anna Lüneman.
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Winner of the World Press Photo Award in 2007 and the Niépce Prize in 2012, Denis Darzacq has maintained a formal practice of combining opposing realities in the same frame. He invited longtime friend and colleague Anna Lüneman to collaborate on a series of works that embed her abstract ceramic sculptures into his photographs. It’s like a peanut butter cup: curiosity can quickly become addictive, as the pairings on the picture plane are remarkably engaging.
A selection of work from Darzacq and Lüneman partnership is now on view in Doublemix at De Soto Gallery, Los Angeles, through July 23, 2016. In a world where everything is digital and memes happen in real time, seeing a three-dimensional collaboration has a wonderful freshness. It is as though the strange things we see online have found themselves in arbitrary pairings that come alive in the physical world.
Consider Doublemix No. 39 (2015), which features a good size brown dog in a full sprint towards the photographer, and therefore, coming towards us. His ears curl back like bull horns and his mouth hangs open while his eyes stay warm. Above him the lips of a pot reveal themselves, as though the dog is chasing it. It’s relentlessly engaging, this visual absurdity, none of it quite making sense but somehow making you feel like it might be time for a run in the park.
The result is a series of pure visual joy, of the pleasure of looking for the sake of discovering a new sensation. The images themselves drawn from the archetypes of the digital domain, embodying the spirit of the instantaneous, the disposable, and the endlessly consumable are beautifully counterposed by the tactile reality of the physical world as manifest by the sculptural elements.
The strange pairings offer a bit of fun, like a dream that you’re enjoying although the narrative is bugged. Lüneman’s designs push everything over the edge. Inspired by historical decorative styles and finishes, the fragments are made of earthenware, the oldest form of pottery in existence. They add a layer of experience to Darzacq’s photographs that invoke a sense of the way in which art can free your mind from the boundaries of perception in order to see the world with fresh eyes.
All artworks: Courtesy of De Soto Gallery, Los Angeles.
Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.