Magazine article Artforum International

Owen Kydd: Monte Clark Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Owen Kydd: Monte Clark Gallery

Article excerpt

Owen Kydd


At what point does a picture cease to be one? Owen Kydd previously pondered this question through works he describes as durational photographs, which utilize extended single-shot video recordings to present static pictures of unmoving objects. The selection of new works on view here, however, marked a significant turn toward large-scale photography; the most salient feature of these works is that of their having been printed on adhesive-backed mural paper. These new works prompted a separate question: What is the point at which a depiction loses coherence?


Destiny and Gabriel (all works 2015) makes use of adhesive to present its composition in an unconventional manner. The black-and-white photograph depicts a woman walking toward a man sitting on a blanket under the canopy of a tree. But by wrapping the print around a convex corner of the gallery wall, Kydd obscured what would otherwise have been the photograph's fulcrum: the figure of Destiny in the foreground. Architecture here became an impediment to visibility by folding the picture plane. Meanwhile, the adhesive color print The Boss pushes its pictorial limits in postproduction. In this staged picture of two men, the eponymous subject wears nice leather shoes and a jaunty newsboy cap, while the laborer to whom he is talking wears sneakers and a sleeveless shirt, and holds a vape in his right hand--a commonplace sight. The work's subject is seemingly the dynamic between a superior and his subordinate. Yet Kydd complicates what would otherwise appear to be a "straight" photograph by distorting the second figure: He has sutured two different frames (taken in close succession) in Photoshop, causing the image of the second man to break down, resulting in a "frozen" appearance similar to that generated by a bad connection on a streamed video chat.

These large-scale, seemingly pedestrian depictions both recall and depart from those of Jeff Wall, in whose studio Kydd once worked. Kydd addresses his debt to Wall explicitly, remixing motifs from the senior artist's oeuvre while pursuing his own investigations within the format of video recording. …

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