Yancey Richardson is pleased to present To Want for Nothing, an exhibition of new photographs by Laura Letinsky, her fifth with the gallery. Known for her psychologically loaded and deconstructed still life photographs, her recent work explores the nature of desire, questions the validity of the static image, and presents modern life as a composite of undifferentiated visual input. Letinsky argues that photographs are read not only as information, but also as instructions on how to build our lives. We enact what we see in photographs and then photograph what we enact, creating an endless loop of production and consumption.
Expanding on previous bodies of work Albeit (2013) and Ill Form & Void Full (2014), To Want for Nothing, created over the last two years between Chicago and Berlin, substitutes the traditional still life practice of photographing objects in a studio with the sourcing of content from printed matter. Ranging from auction catalogs and bridal magazines to travel brochures and fashion advertisements, these materials suggest an overly aspirational and commodified existence, emphasizing an underlying structure of desire. Selections are cut out, scanned, recombined and reoriented, dissolving the hierarchy between high and low imagery and reflecting today’s fragmented deluge of seductive iconography.
To look at these images is to be confronted with sensuality and physical tension. Linearity is abolished for a constellation of form, charged with dissonance and interruption. Identifiable figures and shapes are deliberately extracted, exposed by the nature of their absence, and are measured against unbalanced surfaces and suggestive text. We see luxurious fabrics, opulent interiors, an exotic getaway - visions of excess bathed in light and shadow, torn and collaged in spatial ambiguity. In these new still lifes, Letinsky suggests that life is anything but still.
Laura Letinsky was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. She received her BFA from the University of Manitoba in 1986 and MFA from Yale University’s School of Art in 1991. She has held teaching positions at a number of prestigious American colleges, and since 1994 has been a Professor in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the Foam Museum, Amsterdam; PhotoEspaña, Madrid; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Denver Art Museum; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. Public collections featuring Letinsky’s work include the Art Institute of Chicago; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Yale University Art Gallery.
She has received numerous awards, including the Canada Council International Residency (2014); Richard Driehaus Foundation Award (2003); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2002); and the Guggenheim Fellowship Award (2000). Publications include To Want for Nothing, ROMAN NVMERALS, 2019; Time’s Assignation, Radius Books, 2018; Ill Form and Void Full, Radius Books, 2014; After All, Damiani, 2010; Hardly More Than Ever, Renaissance Society, 2004; and Venus Inferred, University of Chicago Press, 2000.