Lisa Oppenheim: THE ETERNAL SUBSTITUTE

1010 North Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90038
Jan 18, 6 PM - 9 PM — ends Mar 21, 2020
This will be the artist's first solo exhibition on the West Coast and her third solo exhibition with Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, photographic images have never been more ubiquitous, nor ephemeral, intangible, and momentary. While the 'instant' is celebrated, circulated and amplified, the material objects and artifacts that define and comprise the archive, and thereby history, are in peril. For more than 15 years, Lisa Oppenheim has explored the inextricable relationship between history and photography. Establishing a practice deeply grounded in research, Oppenheim explores the materials and processes that create images, and thereby that quite literally frame the way we see the world.

Throughout the exhibition, Oppenheim presents four new bodies of work that explore celluloid film, the foundational medium that revolutionized commercial photography and made motion pictures possible. The exhibition unravels an elegiac narrative of beauty, reflection, and spectacular obsolescence, investigating the crucial role that materials play in history and cultural development.

Large silver-toned photograms span the main gallery space. Using neutral density filters as a stand-in for the weightless transparency of celluloid, Oppenheim varied the exposure of each photosensitive surface and replaced the silver gelatin emulsion with metallic silver during the developing process, making oblique reference to both the “silver screen” and to photography’s limitless capacity to reflect the world back upon itself. Paired together within each frame, the dimensions of each sheet conform to the aspect ratio for still images (2:3) and as a set comprise that for silent motion picture film (4:3), which is referenced in the series’ title: 4:3:2. Using camphor wood frames, the artist underscores the relationship between the primary materials that constitute celluloid film.