CENTER FOR CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTS
Exhibition re-examines this groundbreaking experiment in the history of photography.
TUCSON, ARIZONA (January 2004)- IN THE MID 1970s, two young California artists named Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel became intrigued by the esthetic potential often found in photographs originally made as records. Armed with only a letter from the National Endowment for the Arts, they began visiting assorted industry headquarters, police departments, municipal agencies, and testing facilities, requesting permission to rummage through their photographic files for compelling images.
In March 1977 the pair exhibited 79 of these pictures at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and simultaneously published a book, titled "Evidence", which became an instant classic. "Evidence" was (as the artists then put it) "a poetic exploration upon the restructuring of imagery"-pictures that once served a functional purpose in the world were stripped of their explanatory captions and institutional contexts, and presented as expressive artifacts. The results of their experiment were fascinating, puzzling and more than a little provocative. "As artist-curators, Sultan and Mandel assumed a complicated position within contemporary debates about the esthetics of the documentary photograph. It is a debate that continues today," observes Dr. Douglas R. Nickel, Director of the CCP.
ABOUT MIKE MANDEL AND LARRY SULTAN
Mike Mandel has been a practicing artist since receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles during a period of expansion and transformation of the landscape that included the appearance of billboards, strip malls, and miles of freeways. This experience is telling in his work, which questions the meaning of photographic imagery within popular culture and draws from snapshots, advertising, news photographs, and public and corporate archives. Mandel has translated much of this work into book form, self-publishing nine photo-based books since the early 1970s. For the past eleven years, Mandel has been using the computer for his work and is interested in how the ancient medium of mosaic tile can be informed by the language of the pixel for photo-based ceramic tile mosaic works.
Een eigen waarheid (deze tekst verscheen in FotoMuseumMagazine 34, maart 2006)
Mike Mandel en Larry Sultan studeerden aan het San Fransisco Art Institute waar ze in 1973 hun diploma behaalden. Tot vandaag werken ze samen aan talrijke kunstprojecten. Ook individueel kreeg hun werk internationale bijval. Zo publiceerde Larry Sultan onlangs het boek ‘The Valley’ waarin hij ironisch documentair de Amerikaanse porno-industrie in beeld brengt. Van dat project was een selectie te zien op Foto Antwerpen 2005 bij Maes & Matthys Gallery.