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"on View: Antonia Contro and Maurizio Pellegrin, David Ireland, Clement Cooper"
2001-03-01 until 2001-04-28
Museum of Contemporary Photography
Chicago, IL, USA

From March 1 through April 28, 2001, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago, will present exhibitions by four prominent contemporary artists working with photography, Maurizio Pellegrin (Italy), Antonia Contro (United States), David Ireland (United States), and Clement Cooper (England).

Originally a painter, Chicago artist Antonia Contro creates intricate installations that explore themes of journey and transformation inspired by her own Venetian heritage. Using a SX-70 Polaroid camera, Contro creates both concrete and ethereal images of objects and landscapes, and combines them with other physical objects such as antique maps and written notes. Maurizio Pellegrin’s wall collage installation, Cameras, incorporates old cameras, photo-related equipment, framed found photographs, a black curtain, and what appear to be framed images and objects completely wrapped in black cloth. The idea of an object or image protected and undisturbed conjures a sense of timelessness and sacredness. Although Pellegrin provides photographic paraphernalia as clues to what he is concealing, the viewer can only speculate as to what lies underneath.

Working together Contro and Pellegrin will install a site-specific installation reflecting their shared fascination with the idea of discovery. Descry is comprised of a small black structure which fits tightly within one of the museum's galleries, creating a room within a room. Dimly lit and containing a single photograph, the structure is suggestive of a camera obscura or a giant camera body, reminiscent of the technology, process and materials that stand behind photographic images. Contro and Pellegrin will conduct a gallery talk, free and open to the public, on Wednesday, February 28 at 4:00 pm in the museum as they complete the installation of Descry. They will discuss the process of creating and mounting a site-specific collaborative installation as well as the commonality of their individual works.

Well known as a conceptual sculptor and installation artist who creates hybirds of salvaged objects and architectural materials, David Ireland began using photography in the mid-1990s to illustrate scenes from his various travels. For example, in Blood Dots & Rain over Ireland, he transforms the photograph by using enamel paint to both obscure and frame detail. Ireland will present a gallery talk at the museum on Friday, March 16, 2001 at 6 pm.

Clement Cooper's Primary series is comprised of portraits of inner-city children of diverse and mixed races, photographed in primary schools in Birmingham, Preston, and Manchester, England. Cooper presents the children in an unsentimental and dignified manner – a response to his aversion to advertising images that exploit children.

The museum staff will offer a tour of the current exhibitions at 12:15 pm on March 28. In conjunction with the Columbia College Photography Department, artist Tina Barney will speak on April 19 at 6:30 pm in the Hokin Auditorium at 623 South Wabash Avenue. Barney has photographed her family and friends in their intimate upper-class surroundings for over twenty years. Her scenes are devoid of obvious action, but full of details revealing the rituals of a privileged way of life. Although initially her large color photographs appear to be candid snapshots, in fact the situations are staged.

David Ireland
Blood Dots & Rain over Ireland, 1994
enamel paint on chromogenic development print
23 x 16 inches
Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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