Magazine article Art Monthly

Dress Codes: 3rd ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

Magazine article Art Monthly

Dress Codes: 3rd ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

Article excerpt

'Dress Codes: The third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video' presents an impressive body of work and manages to avoid the black box cinema effect of previous attempts at curating multiple video installations, for example Documenta XI in 2002. The exhibition includes over 100 works by 34 artists from 18 countries. These cross-generational artists range from establishment names such as Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Laurie Simmons, Lorna Simpson and Stan Douglas; rising stars including Mickalene Thomas, Kalup Linzy, Yto Barrada and Wangechi Muti; as well as newcomers Jeremy Kost and Pinar Yolapn. The curators, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers and Kristen Lubben from ICP as well as adjunct curator Vince Aletti, worked with Pentagram to design a densely packed exhibition. 'Dress Codes' coincides with ICP's Year of Fashion, which explores fashion photography in an expanded context. The curators chose artists whose work includes props, costumes or disguise to construct cultural identity. The result is a show that is international in scope and tackles abiding issues including race, class, gender and sexuality.

Every room in this, the third incarnation of ICP's triennial, has at least one video that acts in dialogue with the two-dimensional photographic work. The moving images represent a cross-section of current video practice: from the low-tech, painstaking claymation of Nathalie Djurberg to the high production quality of David Rosetzky's work, which also boasts a celebrity factor as it features the actress Cate Blanchett.

In the first gallery, Mickalene Thomas, well known for her rhinestone-encrusted paintings, shows photographs that were initially used as preparatory works. Meticulously constructed images of glamourous African American women are seductive in their confrontational sexuality and colourful, large-scale glossiness. Juxtaposed with Thomas's photographs, Jacqueline Hassink's BMW Car Girls, 2004, is part of a series in which the Dutch artist investigates the role of the women who work as models at car shows in major cities. Donning sequined tops and tight trousers (which correspond to the colours of the cars on show), they stand beside the vehicles and make casual conversation with suited men who inspect the cars, acting as conduits to lure potential buyers; however, the models quickly become secondary to the male consumers' desire for the luxury vehicle, as attention is transferred to the car in question.

In an adjacent gallery on the upstairs level, Grace Ndiritu's My Blood Self: Artificial Beauty (The Mask), 2006-07, also works in relation with the photographs that surround it. In this video, which is shown on a small plasma screen mounted on a black wall, Ndiritu wears a black fabric mask that obscures all but the whites of her eyes and teeth. The opaque fabric renders it difficult to discern the artist's race. Using her hands to stroke and smooth the mask (which is already even-surfaced), it seems as if the artist is looking into a mirror. Ndiritu's discreet work acts in dialogue with the adjacent large-scale photographs by Alice O'Malley, Tanya Marcuse and Janaina Tschape, which comment on the construction of identity through the use of clothing and props.

Video is also integrated among the photographic works in the galleries downstairs at ICP. …

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