Cover Image: Aperture anniversary ©Hannah Whitaker
In this 4th edition of our ikigAI Labs Newsletter, we're thrilled to spotlight Hannah Whitaker, whose innovative work has been shaping the international art scene. As we approach the soft launch end of Q1 2024, let's dive into the creative realm of one of the eight icons representing our Genesis Art Collective and curated by Florence Moll.
Hannah Whitaker, an artist and photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, has become a prominent figure in the international art scene. Her captivating work has been featured in numerous prestigious exhibitions, such as the Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media in Norway (2020), the Public Art Fund's citywide exhibition, Foam Talent (2014), and Rencontres d'Arles in France (2012), where she was a nominee for the Discovery Prize. In 2021, Galerie Christophe Gaillard in Paris showed her solo exhibition "Shadow Detail" and simultaneously presented her work at the prestigious Paris Photo Fair. Her publication "Ursula" (2021) further cements her status as a visionary in photographic art.
A significant element of Whitaker's oeuvre concerns her reflections on photography's role in technology. Through her insightful essays and publications, Whitaker explores the complex relationship between photography and truth, particularly in today's digital age where the distinction between reality and its representation is increasingly blurred. Her work challenges the conventional perception of photographs as mere reflections of reality, pushing the boundaries of photographic meaning.
In her compelling exhibition, "Shadow Detail," Whitaker expands upon themes from her book "Ursula." The exhibition includes an array of new photographs, a large collaged triptych, a video work, and several sculptural lamps. This body of work continues to explore the sensory potential of silhouettes and patterns, as seen in her previous series. Whitaker ingeniously wraps the human form in reflective tape and aluminum tubing, transforming it into something almost alien. These alterations and her use of bright, monochromatic backgrounds and strategic lighting, create a sense of futuristic isolation.
The exhibition's highlight is the way Whitaker plays with scale, bringing the viewer to a level of equal footing with the figure, yet simultaneously creating a distance from the depicted futuristic world. The shadowy figures, veiled in patterned shadows and sometimes obscured faces, become screens for the disorienting effects of light and props. The still-life components of the exhibition, constructed with the same materials used in the portraits, add another dimension to the work, standing as sentinel-like structures that echo the human form.
Whitaker's first venture into video art in this exhibition is particularly notable. She captures brief episodes featuring the same model used in her photographs, emphasizing the gap between posing and the natural flow of time. This approach extends the moment of a photograph into a narrative in real-time, further exploring the dynamic between stasis and movement, control, and gesture.
Additionally, "Tangled," a three-panel collage in the exhibition, showcases Whitaker's skill in layering and texture. The collage, with its striking use of black and white stripes and hot pink slashes, centers around a large, cloud-like form made of various textures and patterns. This central tangle is patrolled by silhouettes of Whitaker’s model, adding a sense of absurdity and menace to the composition.
An exploration of form, pattern, and the elusive nature of photographic truth.
Hannah's work challenges viewers to reconsider their perceptions of reality, truth, and art in the digital age.
Curation: Florence Moll