Magazine article Artforum International

Sophy Rickett: Emily Tsingou Gallery. (London)

Magazine article Artforum International

Sophy Rickett: Emily Tsingou Gallery. (London)

Article excerpt

"Can one narrate time," asked Thomas Mann, "time as such, in and of itself?" Some photographers likewise (or conversely) seem to ask whether one can photograph a moment, decisive or otherwise, as such, in and of itself. Not the moment in which something or other happens (a speech, a kiss, a gunshot, a birth), but simply that in which a certain present reveals itself photographically. Can there be a photograph in which nothing happens but photography, some film's exposure to some light that has been reflected off some object and concentrated through a lens?

Sophy Rickett's photographs may not exactly succeed in presenting such moments, but they certainly seem concerned to compress any structurally extraneous narrative content to a bare minimum. Two of those exhibited here, London Studio land London Studio II, both 2002, make this desire for compression particularly evident: Nearly all-black Images, they show nothing other than a space that has been established for the production of photographs. The contents of the studio have been reduced to simply the curtains used to block out extraneous light--and also to the minute amount of brightness that has nonetheless been allowed to seep into it from a corner where the curtains do not quite meet and a bit more at the top (London Studio I) or bottom (II) where they meet but occasionally don't quite reach the ceiling or floor. At first these pictures may seem based on an absolute dualism of searing white and imponderable black. But even the expanses of absolute darkness are inhabited by barely perceptible streaks that t urn out to be the folds of the curtain, and within the austerity of the image these folds maintain the possibility of a kind of voluptuousness (one might think of James Welling's photographs of folded fabric) that sustains the instantaneity of the moment and submits it to desire, that is, to narrative. …

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