Catherine Opie

harmony is fraught

Exhibition review by Zachary Korol Gold

Comprising constellations of never-before-exhibited photographs, Catherine Opie’s latest exhibition with Regen Projects raids the artist’s archive and offers windows into her community, city and social life, burrowing into the surface of Los Angeles like the famous cuts on the artist’s back, writes Zachary Korol Gold. Our must-see show during Frieze Los Angeles 2024.

Zachary Korol Gold | Exhibition review | 26 Feb 2024

Entering Regen Projects here in Los Angeles, the sounds of a group of friends hanging out at the back of the gallery greeted me. Making my way through the gallery’s rooms, divided in four equal quadrants with one long hallway, one voice became distinct: that of Catherine Opie, whose exhibition harmony is fraught, the artist’s eleventh with Regen, surrounded me. Curious to see whether Opie was leading a tour or catching up with the gallery’s proprietor and namesake Shaun, her long-time friend, I made my way to the back of the space.

The artist, however, was not present. Instead, I discovered Making of Self-Portrait/Cutting (1993), a half-hour-long behind-the-scenes video of Opie’s Self-Portrait/Cutting, 1993 (1993). In this seminal colour photograph, not on show, a childlike cartoon of two stick figures, both in triangular dresses, holding hands, adjacent to a house, cloud and cresting sun, has been cut into the artist’s bare back, beginning to ooze blood. Making of presents the moments preparing, cutting and capturing this well-known picture. Whereas the photograph depicts a solitary Opie, appearing serious, heavy and verging on the grotesque, the film depicts a group coming together to realise an artwork, their chatting and joking overlaid with a buzz of energy foreshadowing the gravitas of the still.

In an adjacent room, another work draws from this same moment: Self-Portrait/Cutting contact sheet, 1993 (1993/2024). Here, four shots of Opie’s back come together in a “contact sheet”, photo-sensitive paper directly exposed to a group of negatives pressed against it – contacting it – used to catalogue pictures for an artist’s archive, and a source from which one can be selected for enlargement into a final print. This image, whose four quadrants mirror the gallery’s four symmetrical spaces, repeats the photographic processes of exposure, printing, scanning; its negatives captured and the contact sheet exposed in 1993, then digitally scanned and finally printed in 2024. Such re-photography recalls the postmodernist experiments of Sherrie Levine, who presented her own photographs of photographs directly appropriating the iconic works of Walker Evans, Eliot Porter and Edward Weston. The so-called “straightness” of Levine’s appropriations is here displaced, both by its picturing of an image carved into Opie’s body rather than one from the photographic canon, and in the present exhibition’s context of Opie’s social life which bleeds in from the sounds of Making of around the corner, as well as the artist’s community and city on display in other pictures.

Like Self-Portrait/Cutting contact sheet, the exhibition raids the icebox of Opie’s own archive; the artist invites us to look with her through her personal contact sheets. And many of the pictures are of her contacts. Studio mates, artists, friends, Opie’s son Oliver and others gather among scenes of domestic life, parties and the urban spaces of Los Angeles.

Along the longest corridor-like gallery, Opie plastered a wall with a monumental vinyl of her 1993 night-time picture of the exterior of The Palms, the last remaining lesbian bar in West Hollywood that shuttered in 2013 after nearly half a century in operation. A group of pictures of party-goers in various states of undress cluster atop the nearly life-sized wallpapered image of the bar. Here, Club Fuck #1 (1992/2024) and Club Fuck #2 (1992/2024) both depict scenes of debauchery at the infamous party Club Fuck!, hosting performances and dancing at Basgo’s Disco and Dragonfly Bar between 1989 and 1993 until it was shut down by police. Conflating these parties with The Palms, Opie threads together the overlapping lesbian queer, and arts communities – her communities – of 1990s Los Angeles.

The exhibition at large hinges on this same operation, bringing together portraits of the artist’s people, scenes of her city and windows into her life. The artworks resurrect images from the artist’s archive which had remained private, never shown before, now loosely arranged in an eye-level succession spread across the gallery. This structure invites us to flip back and forth through Opie’s pictures as if we were sitting down with her and cracking open a photo album. Whereas the family photo album upholds the family unit as a source of chronological collective memory – as theorised by Pierre Bourdieu – here, pictures are associated but not ordered. The openness of the selection at Regen Projects does not pretend to aim for comprehension. Opie holds no secrets, and the show’s very exposure of her life centres its incompleteness with no pretence of achieving objectivity.

This comes to the fore in the many pictures of domestic and urban life and space, that the portraits punctuate. The city records its inhabitants’ layered interventions, the coverings, paintings, marks and erasures that occur through its ongoing occupation. Graffiti covers the edges and road barriers of an ominously-empty interchange in 105 Freeway, 1994 (1994/2024), a mural decrying gangs adorns a building standing behind an empty lot in End Thee Insanity, 1989 (1989/2024), plywood covers a store’s windows during the 1992 uprising in Mariella’s Tacos/Uprising, 1992 (1992/2024) while a fire burns another building during the same moment of unrest in L.A. Uprising, Catalina Rooftop, 1992 (1992/2024). Surfaces are constructed and built up, both in private in the mood board of printouts tacked to the wall in Tony Greene’s Studio, September 12, 1990 (1990/2024) and connecting the city in the replacement sixth street viaduct to downtown in 6th St. Bridge Construction, 2022 (2022/2024). Violence erupts, both threatening, like the armed police in AB101 Demonstration, 1991 (1991/2024) and camouflaged guards in Mariella’s Tacos/Uprising, 1992 (1992/2024), and pleasurable, in the BDSM practices of needle play in Ian needles and flowers, 1993 (1993/2024) and the kneeling exchange of Yes Ma’am, 1990 (1990/2024). Intimacy, here, can be the peaceful hammocked nap of Catherine and Millie, 1994 (1994/2024), the raucous lust of the Club Fuck! pictures and the vulnerability of the dildo, lubricant and hemorrhoidal suppositories on display in Medicine Cabinet, 1992 (1992/2024).

Like a series of long exposures, public and private surfaces record the history of Opie’s city’s community. As she and we make our lives here, we burrow into its surface like the famous cuts on the artist’s back. We meet each other, we touch the city, making contacts. ♦

All images courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Catherine Opie

harmony is fraught runs at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, until 3 March 2024.

Zachary Korol Gold is a curator and writer living in Los Angeles researching ecological aesthetics in contemporary art. He is a PhD Candidate in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine and works in the curatorial department of UCI Langson Institute and Museum of California Art.


1-Catherine Opie, 6th St. Bridge Construction, 2022 (2022/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

2-Catherine Opie, AB101 Demonstration, 1991 (1991/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

3-Catherine Opie, Catherine and Millie, 1994 (1994/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

4-Catherine Opie, Club Fuck #1, 1992 (1992/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

5-Catherine Opie, Club Fuck #2, 1992 (1992/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

6-Catherine Opie, Christian, 1990 (1990/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

7-Catherine Opie, Gauntlet Group, 1995 (1995/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

8-Catherine Opie, Hollywood, 1990 (1990/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

9-Catherine Opie, Ian needles and flowers, 1993 (1993/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

10-Catherine Opie, Mariella’s Tacos/Uprising, 1992 (1992/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

11-Catherine Opie, Medicine Cabinet, 1992 (1992/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

12-Catherine Opie, Sunday morning, 1989 (1989/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

13-Catherine Opie, Surfer Landscape, 2003 (2003/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

14-Catherine Opie, Yes Ma’am, 1990 (1990/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

15-Catherine Opie, Langer’s, 1989 (1989/2024). Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Anselm Kiefer

Photography in the Beginning

Exhibition review by Mark Durden

Mark Durden visits Anselm Kiefer’s new show at LAM – Lille Métropole Musée d’art modern d’art contemporain et d’art brut, centred on the significance of photography for the German artist’s work. It reminds us that in his hands photographs are never simply a document: predominantly black and white, they are a skin to be marked and scored upon, collaged, contaminated, painted over, covered in clay, scattered with sunflower seeds, scratched, torn; as much a surface as an image.

Mark Durden | Exhibition review | 16 Feb 2024

Anselm Kiefer: Photography in the Beginning at LAM – (Lille Métropole Musée d’art modern d’art contemporain et d’art brut) is the first major show centred on the significance of photography for the German artist’s work. In this intriguing and multi-faceted exhibition, also involving sculptures and paintings, we get a clear sense of his treatment and relation to photography – it is a refreshing use of the medium and somewhat distinct from the dominant narratives of the history of photography (Kiefer refers to photography as his “sainted assistant” and has only partially and rarely presented this important component of his practice before).  

“How can anyone be an artist in the tradition of German art and culture, after Auschwitz?” French art historian Daniel Arasse raised this question in his 2014 book-length study of Kiefer. And while many of the works on show explore myths, traditions and beliefs that go beyond the Holocaust – it is still a question that haunts this exhibition. Swathes of German culture had been tainted by their appropriation during The National Socialist regime and Kiefer’s emergence as an artist saw him confront this tradition, drawing upon quasi-mystical and ritualistic realms to address this contamination, effecting a mad or crazy romanticism, in which the artist’s antics send up Nazism. In the face of cultural consensus in The Federal Republic of Germany or “West Germany” condemning cultural allusions connected with the barbarity of the past, fascism’s image-world, Kiefer’s emergence as an artist, having been born in 1945, was very much as a taboo breaker and transgressor: someone who would not remain quiet.    

What comes across from this show is an odd mixture and clash of values and beliefs. When Kiefer presents himself in photographs, mostly dating from the late 1960s but often reworked in the 2000s, he is an actor, a performer. What these actions signal and signify is fraught with conflict. Mystic? Romantic? Trickster? In fact the show begins with a photograph from the late 1960s, overpainted with gouache, showing the artist wearing a dress and standing on a chair. He is holding a branch with leaves. He seems to be evoking nature’s power of growth, regeneration and healing. He adopts or plays the role of healer after the darkness. This first room is entitled Nigredo, Latin for blackness, a reference to the first step in alchemy, the state of black matter from which the philosopher’s stone is made. But blackness and darkness also take on meaning in terms of Nazism and a history that his art refuses to remain silent on.

This exhibition has a lot of captioning texts, which help orient us in navigating our way through his complex iconography. Or rather an iconography made complex through citations and allusions to literature and culture, which as a viewer can be overwhelming. But materially the art is often blunt and direct, unrefined; a recurring tension or collision in the works. On one hand a raw visceral immediacy and directness of how materials are used and on the other the weight and richness of high cultural allusions.

The photograph is very much a medium for Kiefer, a receptive surface that in its use by the artist is never simply a document. Predominantly black and white, it is a skin to be marked and scored upon, collaged, painted over, covered in clay, scattered with sunflower seeds, scratched, torn; as much a surface as a picture.

The condition of many of his photographs might be described in terms of contamination – stained, mounted on lead, which is sometimes visibly corroding and changing. Lead for Kiefer is an important medium for its alchemical associations. It might also be seen to have a correspondence with photography itself – grey, melancholic and mutable.

Before the first room, a large photo mural shows the artist as photographer, his shadow cast against the emptiness of the Sahara desert, a void marked also by receding tire tracks. The picture might be seen to feed a myth of the lone male artist creator, a romantic portrait in which the world is a blank surface awaiting him to make his mark. But at the same time it is only his shadow, a fleeting and momentary trace of the artist.

In some of his most striking and well-known photographs, Occupations, dating from 1969, Kiefer enacts a comedic reprisal of the legacy of Nazism, in which, sometimes adorned in his father’s military uniform, he adopts the Hitler salute in places in countries formerly invaded by Germany. The romantic implication when this gesture takes place in front of the sea is undermined by a comic shortfall, especially evident in the pages of some of his early artist’s books – on show in vitrines and on a video screen – showing him standing and saluting in a full bathtub in his studio and appearing to “walk on water”. The Nazi salute was, and still is, an illegal act in Germany and one that acknowledges and responds to the silence of the time: “authority competition, superiority… these are facets of me like everyone else. I wanted to find out what I would have done back then.”

The first room is dominated by a large photograph of a young Kiefer lying down and adorned in a crochet dress, but also giving the Nazi salute. Entitled Pour Jean Genet, it draws attention to a writer important to the artist: “I still feel the same fascination for the dichotomy he sustains between light and darkness, flesh and crystal, for his search for the duality between saintliness and abjection”. The photograph was pasted onto lead before undergoing the chemical process of electrolysis. The effect is visually striking, the colours and staining of the photograph and the transformation of lead, all materially reiterate the indeterminacy of the figure of the artist, counteracting militarism by cross dressing.  

Since the end of the 1960s, Kiefer has constantly created unique books from photographs and various materials. Two rooms are given over to the books, in steel vitrines and atop lead tables. Three large-scale books are made available to physically view, one in colour offering a powerful succession of views of tunnelled excavations in his expansive artist’s famed estate in Bajac, France – a fascination with something primary and basic, a stripping back of creation to a raw encounter with matter.

For Kiefer the German landscape is marred by the violent history of the past – a series of photographs of disused railway tracks become tragic in their allusion to the trains to the death camps. In some of the most direct uses of photographs, landscape photographs are covered with barbed wire or surgical instruments, an emphatic insistence on his de-innocenting of the romantic landscape tradition. Photographs of sunflowers could evoke the paintings of Van Gogh but are often pictured black against the light and the photographic surfaces tinted and splotched. Elsewhere in a rarely shown series, Kiefer presents sixteen dioramas, snow-covered forest scenes combined with cut out photographs, many drawn from family photographs. But much as some offer lighter scenes, a wedding couple, children, the darkness of the past lingers and breaks the spell and magic of these little scenes – in one, a figure is hanging from a tree.

Conceived in the wake of the trauma of German history, it is not surprising that we counter ruin after ruin in his use of photographs. The photograph itself is in a state of ruin, or indeterminacy, often stained and corroded. Contamination becomes a good word to describe the state of many of his photographs in light of the abiding themes and concerns of his work. For example, in one striking wall-sized work, a large torn photograph on lead that is corroded, sets up an interplay between the picture’s ruinous state and a photographic composite bringing together the image of a Greek temple and a brickworks in India, a place of primary production and construction set against the relic of Classical western culture, an evocation of two very distinct architectures and worlds.  

In a different room, we encounter a series of works drawn from Jewish mythology and a more troubling association in the evocation of the female figure of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, a demonic force and uncontrollable seductress, often symbolised by her long black hair in the artist’s works. Her name and black hair floats among a haze of ash covering a large-scale painted aerial view of a sprawling city, drawn from photographs of São Paolo. 

Kiefer’s obsessions and themes recur through his photographic imagery – the sunflowers, the sea, the forest, snow covered fields, the railway tracks, as well as the spectacle of ruins and the transformative site of his studios. If there is a shift in his work from the weight of German history, it is an opening out to more cosmic and abstract themes, the focus on creativity in relation to the unfathomable beyond. Photographs of the underground spaces that he had dug into the hill of his French estate represent an unresolvable quest and searching, very much like the experience of his art itself. This is its richness, a sense that we cannot readily frame or contain it. We hazard a guess, blunder around for meanings. And signs and meanings are in abundance in this work, but we are never quite sure how to make sense of them. Things are not fixed but mutable like the state of many of his photographs.

By the end of the show, a large-scaled photograph mounted on lead, shows the back of the artist, standing at the edge of the Rhine looking towards the other shore. It is a reprisal of Caspar David Friedrich’s rückenfigur (“figure from the back”), but the message is different. Despite the picture’s size, the artist’s pose is not about self-aggrandisement, mastery or heroic power. Rather, according to a quote from the artist, it is a stance and position caught up in the idea of borders and being between: “When I speak of borders, I speak of our very essence. […] We are the membrane between the macrocosm and the microcosm, between the inside – what we are – and the outside, what we also are. […] Art itself is a frontier, defined by the notion of limit: it is always on the razor’s edge, on the edge between mimicry and abstraction.”

Keifer’s art is one that is full of tensions and oppositions. In many ways for all the destruction and contaminations in his use of photography, his ceaseless production and creativity is marked by an enduring faith in art and culture. Another work from his Occupations series has been painted over, fifty years later. A palette with little radiant lines around it has been painted upon the image of his chest and dots of paint over black have been added to represent the stars above him. A quote from Kant accents the dichotomy central to the picture – “The starry sky above us and the moral law within us”. In revisiting and reworking this early photograph he spells out a tension and opposition that rebounds throughout the works in the show. The cosmos, something beyond and unfathomable, is set in relation to our own morality – our potential for goodness and creativity which is symbolised by the artist’s palette, but also our potential for evil, the abject sign of fascism in that Sieg Heil gesture. ♦

All images courtesy the artist and LAM – (Lille Métropole Musée d’art modern d’art contemporain et d’art brut) © Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer: Photography in the Beginning runs at LAM until 3 March 2024.

Mark Durden is an academic, writer and artist. He is Professor of Photography and the Director of the European Centre for Documentary Research at the University of South Wales. He works collaboratively as part of the artist group Common Culture and, since 2017, with João Leal, has been photographing modernist architecture in Europe.


1-Anselm Kiefer, Für Martin Heidegger Todtnauberg (For Martin Heidegger Todtnauberg), 2010-2014. Black and white photographs, chalk, charcoal and silver leaf on cardboard; 20 pages (9 double-pages + cover and 4th cover); 103 x 66 x 4 cm © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

2-Anselm Kiefer, Unfruchtbare Landschaften (Barren Landscapes), 1969. Black and white photography, surgical instruments and graphite on cardboard. Hardcover book, 14 pages; 36 x 25 x 4.5 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

3-Anselm Kiefer, Der gestirnte Himmel über uns und das moralische Gesetz in uns (The Starry Sky Above Us and the Moral Law Within Us), 1969-2009. Gouache on photographic paper; 58.90 x 83.90 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Atelier Anselm Kiefer

4-Anselm Kiefer, Family Pictures, 2013-2017. Set of 16 display cases, Metal, glass, lead; 385 x 145 x 145 cm © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

5-Anselm Kiefer, Am Anfang, [In the Beginning], 2008. Oil paint, emulsion, lead and photography on canvas; 380 x 560 cm. Grothe Collection at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

6-Anselm Kiefer, The Secret Life of Plants, 1998. Photographic reproductions, plants, graphite; 64.50 x 50 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

7-Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2005. Gouache and lead on black and white photograph; 43.6″ x 45.5″. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Atelier Anselm Kiefer

8-Anselm Kiefer, Sonnenblumen (Sunflowers), 1994-2012. Tinted silver photographic print under glass in a steel frame; 103.5 x 160.5 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

9-Anselm Kiefer, Der Rhein [The Rhine], 1969-2012, Electrolysis on photographic print mounted on lead, 380 × 1,100 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

10-Anselm Kiefer, Calmly Unendingly Moves (für J.J.), 2023. Glass, steel, lead photography and mixed media; 385 x 145 x 145 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

11-Anselm Kiefer, Bergkristall, detail of the Family Pictures installation, 2013-2017. Set of 16 display cases. Metal, glass, lead, wood, plywood, acrylic, emulsion, photography, watercolour on paper and mist technique; 351.5 x 1400 x 100 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

12- Anselm Kiefer, Am Anfang, [In the Beginning], 2008. Oil paint, emulsion, lead and photography on canvas; 380 x 560 cm. Grothe Collection at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Charles Duprat

13-Anselm Kiefer, Ohne Titel, (Untitled), 1969-2009. Gouache on photograph; 110.5 x 86 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

14-Anselm Kiefer, Heroische Sinnbilder, [Heroic symbols], 1969-2010, Black and white photographs, gouache, watercolour on paper and graphite on bound cardboard, 10 pages, 60 × 45 × 4 cm. © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Atelier Anselm Kiefer

Taysir Batniji


Book review by Elisa Medde

Disruptions, a new book from Palestinian artist Taysir Batniji published by Loose Joints, collates two years of glitched video calls with his family in Gaza while living in Paris. In solidarity with the struggles of the Palestinian people during the latest act of devastating destruction and erasure by the state of Israel, all proceeds will go towards the NGO Medical Aid Palestine providing critical medical care and support on the ground. Elisa Medde considers this evocation of the emotional and physical separation that occurs across borders.

Elisa Medde | Book review | 5 Feb 2024

The lives and paths of images are often elusive. We perhaps should approach them suspiciously, certainly with hesitation, wary of what they could be carrying: power, meaning, even truth of their own. Evidence. The understanding that they actually contain none of these in themselves, but rather tend to reflect, expose and manifest the contexts, meanings and evidences that we build and consign into and about them is sometimes liberating, sometimes confusing and most regularly confronting. Confronting is an apt word: it implies reflection, which is something images are very good at. They reflect well, and they reflect back.

Between 2015 and 2017, Palestinian artist Taysir Batniji assembled a series of images titled Disruptions. Forced in a condition of displacement because of the difficulties in travelling to besieged Gaza from his Parisian residency, Batniji maintained contact with his mother and other family members via video calls on WhatsApp, which were constantly disrupted and interrupted by poor and shaky line connections. Network issues would destructure and dismantle faces, streets and rooms into clusters of pixels, blurred lines or solid blocks of colour. Initially interested in the formal phenomenon, Batniji started taking screenshots on his mobile device. Curious about these glitchy, seemingly random effects, he transformed them into an archive, noting their dates and ordering them as an inventory.

Being displaced, being exiled, being far away means, first and foremost, being absent. This condition carries a shift in time, in how the flow of life is experienced. One’s life is split in two, between the lived space, which flows through the present tense, and the other, distant space, which flows through the narrated tense. Life happening in the latter is mediated by accounts and recounts, filtered by phones, letters and screens. It depends on a means of communication, and is deferred from real time, compressed into clusters of time and forced into synthesis, fragmented in interrupted flows. In Batniji’s long-distance relations, one end lives a life in waiting, split between two conditions while the other lies in an occupied and besieged land in which communication infrastructure is itself subjugated to dynamics of power, apartheid and retaliation. The mere existence of such infrastructure is just one of the fragilities excruciatingly trying to keep together life itself in spite of all, in spite of the constant attempt to erase it altogether. The very idea of real time communication feels like an impossible privilege, with the present tense constantly postponed and prevented.  

Disruption became a series of 86 screenshots, taken between 24 April 2015 and 23 June 2017. In 2019, it was exhibited at MAC/VAL in Vitry-sur-Seine in the group exhibition Lifelines – an Exhibition of Legends, which proposed reflections on identities and their processes of construction and legitimation. Installed as a chronology-based grid of 16 x 24 cm ink-jet prints, their impact was described by curator Frank Lamy: ‘A possible connection is established between the disturbed conversation and the violent events taking place simultaneously in Gaza. The artist thus delivers a part of this common intimacy that stretches between two territories.’

The series has now been published in photobook form by Loose Joints, representing an act of solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian people during the latest act of devastating destruction and erasure by the state of Israel, which has produced, at the moment of writing, about 26,700 Palestinian victims, of whom an estimated 40% are children. Approximately 70% of homes in Gaza have been demolished, and its complete education and health system has been wiped out. The surviving population in Gaza remains with no access to basic survival level of food, water, electricity, health care or shelter, all while the silence and connivence of larger part of the international community threatens the very existence of human rights, and of the agencies and systems created for its protection and guarantee. Batniji’s family itself, as we learn from the book dedication, has been decimated by Israeli bombings, together with all who sought refuge in their family home in the Al-Shijaya neighbourhood of Gaza. All proceeds from the book will go towards the NGO Medical Aid Palestine, which provides medical care and support on the ground.

Batniji is an artist who has kneaded his own story with the histories of his motherland, Palestine, constantly shifting back and forth between private and public, pointing his sharp eye towards the absurdities and idiosyncrasies of dominance, control and survival in the face of colonial violence. His work ultimately revolves around consequences: he detaches himself from the narration of events to look at the effects they produce and force – on bodies, souls, landscapes, memories, connections and communications. His whole artistic production functions as an inventory of traces, a testament to the irreversibility of events and their remains. The dates, stretches of time and recurrences become crucial elements of a life and an artistic production that also takes the shape of a ‘chronology of displacement’, as writer Taous R. Dahmani powerfully describes in her essay, included in the book in English, French and Arabic.

The book sequences the images chronologically, with the dates setting the pace of the narration into sections. The almost unreadable photographs initially confuse and frustrate the viewer into searching for visual anchors and understanding, forcing one to slow down, to go back and forth. The sequence powerfully transmits a growing, helpless tension, with the pace of looking increasing as the pages turn, compelling the eye to almost frantically search for something that is not there – anymore.

These images inevitably resonate differently today than they did in 2019. Whilst war and destruction and disruption were always the backdrop and the filter through which we experience them, they assume a different weight, a different meaning, a different evidence in early 2024. Our visual context has changed: we now see them after having spent the past four months helplessly watching the sheer horror live streaming from Gaza, witnessing the real time destruction of an entire city: houses, bodies, cars, trees, animals, streets and children. Looking at Disruptions today even more powerfully recalls what is behind these interrupted conversations: these glitched images scream shattered buildings, torn bodies, disintegrated lives, missed last goodbyes. They are images of war. To quote Dahmani: ‘Digital tension grips his attention – a screenshot would have been a mere portrait a few minutes earlier. Glitches are errors, defects that shatter the quality of an image. The pixelated screenshots engage our mental images of what war does: images of destruction, the ruins left by combat zones, the elimination of persons, and disappeared loved ones.’

The images in this necessary, urgent book leave their latent imprint in our brains and keep haunting us, as probably Gaza will. Their abstract nature feels like the only way to fathom the unspeakable, to make sense of the unbearable. They arrest us, confront us and reflect on us our responsibility in all of this – the passive spectatorship we all will have to reckon with. ♦

All images courtesy the artist and Loose Joints © Taysir Batniji

Disruptions is published by Loose Joints.

Elisa Medde is a photography editor, curator and writer. She has a background in Art History, Iconology and Photographic Studies, and currently serves as a lecturer for the Photography MA at ECAL, Lausanne, Switzerland. Medde has nominated for prizes and chaired juries, including the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award, Prix Elysée and MAST Photography Grant on Industry and Work, and her writing has appeared in FlashArt, PhotoEye, Time Magazine, Foam Magazine, Something We Africans Got, Vogue Italia / L’Uomo Vogue, YET Magazine, the Aperture PhotoBook Review and artists’ books. Between 2012–23, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Foam Magazine, twice the recipient of a Lucie Award for Best Photography Magazine. She is the recipient of the Royal Photographic Society Award for Photography Publishing 2023.

Photo50 2024

Grafting: The Land and the Artist

Exhibition review by Fergus Heron

In 2024 London Art Fair’s annual Photo50 exhibition was guest curated by Revolv Collective. Titled Grafting: The Land and the Artist, it showcased mainly emerging artists, with the commonalities across the range of presented works circling around ideas of situation, proximity and entanglement with land. The work featured slow and meticulous processes in its making, and, as a result, invited close, detailed and sustained attention, writes Fergus Heron.

Fergus Heron | Exhibition review | 24 Jan 2024

In Landscape and Western Art (1999), Malcolm Andrews speculated ‘as a phase in the cultural life of the west, landscape may already be over’. Andrews drew upon insights by geographer Denis Cosgrove that ‘landscapes can be deceptive’, and John Berger’s well-cited passage that ‘sometimes a landscape seems to be less a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents take place. For those who, with the inhabitants, are behind the curtain, landmarks are no longer geographical but also biographical and personal’. Recent literature exploring how artists make sense of place, including work by Susan Owens and Alexandra Harris, build upon such thought, focussing on the ways in which contemporary artists work with renewed attention to their immediate localities, in many cases concentrating on how their own, and their communities’, lived experiences of place involve co-dependent human and non-human natures.

It is with this sense of place that London Art Fair’s Photo50, guest curated by the photography organisation Revolv Collective, presented Grafting: The Land and the Artist. Featuring mainly emerging artists, the commonalities across the range of selected works were those of situation, proximity and entanglement with land. Most of the work featured slow and meticulous processes in its making, and, as a result, invited close, detailed and sustained attention.

The curatorial approach taken focussed upon the detail, fragment and perhaps, above all, the matter of land. These considerations were situated in close dialogue with the materials of photography, primarily in its analogue forms, as well as materials and processes at the edges of, and that exceeded, the medium. The collection of works was drawn from a range of independent projects made in numerous ways from artist residencies to academic research. All projects approached land as the actual matter and form of places lived and worked. Here, there was limited, if any, sense of landscape, that is, the kind of picture made according to art historical conventions of the picturesque or sublime that frame views of land at a distance for remote contemplation. Where landscape was present, it was as reference or critique.

Amongst standout works was Eugénie Shinkle’s Ideal City (Somebody Else’s Landscape). This work was constructed from individual 35mm colour contact prints hand sewn into a large-scale piece presented upon a freestanding frame. Corresponding through its colours with paintings by JMW Turner, the conjunctions of early industrialisation, the awe-inspiring forces of the natural world and the emergence of photography were in dialogue. Other works referred to the early years of photographic exploration within which plants featured heavily as subjects; Marie Smith’s Extraction: In Conversation with Anna Atkins comprised cyanotypes inspired by this key figure that depict leaves and plants from the Horniman Museum in London using herb-based developers to process the images, bringing photographic subjects and processes into close relation. Amongst works produced collaboratively was Seed Pod by Joshua Bilton. This project brought together stories of school children involved in a series of workshops imagining themselves transforming into plants, trees, water, birds and seeds in response to water ways forming part of their immediate environment.

Collected in a box, the stories and poems accompanied delicate sculptural earthstone seeds and Polaroids used to record performances and workshops. Laid out on a modest trestle table in the exhibition space in rows, grids, columns and a circle, the Polaroids showed children’s hands inscribed on the print rebate with their names, and the seed pieces in connection formed poignant commentary on notions of community, hope and possibility. Rowan Lear’s A Sudden Branching featured silver gelatin prints showing fragments of land surfaces and forms mounted on the underside of wooden shelves. The shelves, painted bright green and fixed to the wall, on their topsides supported ceramic stems made from grafting together two types of clay. To see this work fully demanded movement of the body in ways that alluded to natural processes and defamiliarised conventions of looking and display. With great subtlety, and at first apparent simplicity, this work engaged multiple complex ideas about human relations with the natural world. Jackson Whitefield’s highly refined mixed media monochrome works placed land art and landscape in dialogue.

Hannah Fletcher and Alice Cazenave’s collaborative project (is)land featured a collection of 16 beautiful direct positive prints exposed in waste film canister pinhole cameras, developed with plant-based chemicals and fixed using salt evaporated from the Baltic Sea. Without enlargement, and with the imagery featuring landscape views and surface markings from their process with near equal emphasis, photographic technology was situated within, and inseparable from, the world it shows. The placement of the series next to another of Fletcher’s works, a sculpture constructed upon principles for silver reclamation from exhausted photographic fixer, created dramatic contrasts in scale and materials. In relation, these works situated photographs generated from the land, and offered comment upon the environmental consequences of photography’s materials and techniques, demonstrating how reworking the actual development process of photography towards different futures can be possible.

Within the fair, Photo50 was difficult to find. Once located, the work was installed along a set of display walls, effectively forming a linear sequence from left to right. There was limited space in which to give each piece of work the kind of concentration it deserved. Extra peripheral activity was all too apparent with many distractions. Nonetheless, once adjusted to the location, the strength of the collected works, the variety of approaches and their qualities emerged. Much of the work was complex and detailed, often small in scale, or made up of many smaller constituent parts, which helped activate ways of looking that alternated between, and in the best examples effectively balanced, critical engagement with the key underpinning curatorial issues and the kind of reverie that images of the natural world at their most powerful can stimulate. As a collection of work, the show made visible the shared agencies and interdependencies of human and non-human natures through photographic images; those with and from the natural world. Visible too were the aesthetic qualities of photographic materials that in many different ways touch the natural world. ♦

Grafting: The Land and the Artist ran at Photo50 at London Art Fair from 22 – 26 January 2024.

Fergus Heron is Course Leader for MA Photography, leads the Photography Research Group and is a Research Supervisor in the School of Art and Media at the University of Brighton. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. Exhibitions featuring his work have taken place internationally at venues including: Tate Britain, London; Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Exeter; Royal West of England Academy, Bristol; Museum for Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark; and K3 Project Space, Zurich, Switzerland. His work is included in the anthology Emerging Landscapes (Routledge, 2014). He selected Photography Culture: Photography and Landscape (The Photographer’s Gallery, London, 2018), edited Visible Economies (Photoworks, 2012) and is a contributor to A Companion to Photography (Blackwell, 2020).


1-Eugénie Shinkle, Ideal City (Somebody Else’s Landscape), 1998. Image courtesy of the artist.

2-Eugénie Shinkle, Ideal City (Somebody Else’s Landscape), 1998. Image courtesy of the artist.

3-Hannah Fletcher, Alice Cazenave, (is)land, 2022. Image courtesy of the artists.

4-Jackson Whitefield, Imprint I, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

5-Marie Smith, Extraction: In Conversation with Anna Atkins, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.

6-Edd Carr, Yorkshire Dirt 1, 2022, 3min16.

7-Tamsin Green, cliff, 2021.

8-Victoria Ahrens, Purpurea, 2023.

Karla Hiraldo Voleau

Another Love Story

Book review by Anneka French

Through a combination of writing, photography and performance, Another Love Story, Karla Hiraldo Voleau’s new photobook with Mörel, re-narrates the final moments of a romantic relationship by casting a similar-looking actor as her ex-lover. Part-fact, part-fiction, the project abounds with emotional and ethical complexity to reclaim the power of her own history whilst also revealing how identity construction can be played out in the digital space, writes Anneka French.

Anneka French | Book review | 10 Jan 2024

September unfolds through sun-soaked photographs shot lakeside. The sculpted curvature of a man’s back shines wet in the light as he climbs rocks and swims in turquoise waters. There is warm skin, fine hair, touch, seduction. A pair of bare feet seen from above indicate the perspective of the photographer as she looks down upon the man. He winks back up at her.

Fast forward to November and glimpses of something amiss might be derived from the inclusion of an image in which the dark-haired man’s shadow throws his profile starkly against a golden-beige wall. His face is heavily blurred in a preceding image, as if turning away from the photographer. Much of November takes place in an idyllic wooden chalet, its bedroom flooded by low-slung winter sun, with the close-cropped intimacy of the man cooking at a stovetop interspersed by shots of him bare-chested and smiling. There are rumpled sheets, sunsets and harbour views. Romantic cliches abound, and stacking up, they begin to feel disconcerting.

Screenshots of two text messages and a brief handwritten note appear at the very beginning of Karla Hiraldo Voleau’s new photobook, Another Love Story, published by Mörel. The text provides fragments of information that signal a problem in the narrative, proving a hook which keeps the pages turning. It may not be a surprise to hear that there is no happy ending for the artist and her beau. Instead, the relationship, and importantly, the project, unravels gradually, month-by-month, into a story of one man’s deception. Hiraldo Voleau offers clarity in the form of an eight-page spread laid out as a script for two characters interleaved between the chapters of January and February. This transcript of a telephone conversation reveals the man, named within the book as X, to be leading a double life as the lover and live-in partner of another woman known as A. The text frames and contextualises the photographs within the book, a collection which is part-fact and part-fiction, and which abounds with emotional and ethical complexity.

In the book, Hiraldo Voleau, a Dominican-French artist photographer based in Lausanne, Switzerland, includes a small number of original photographs that were taken on a mobile phone camera during her relationship with X. The majority of the images in the book, however, have been recreated especially for the project, faithfully and painstakingly remade at the same locations and using highly similar objects and garments as props and costumes for the new photographs. In-the-moment snaps thus become examined and forensically re-staged tableaux. As a rule, where the face of X appears, the man presented alongside the artist is, in fact, an actor paid by her to play the role. This is a role that she is (re)performing too in an editing of memory, image and story. “It’s about 80 per cent reconstruction, 20 per cent true,” Hiraldo Voleau explains. However painful and however problematic casting a similar-looking actor as her ex-lover might be, she asserts Another Love Story as an attempt to reclaim her story and her experiences for herself.

In design terms, Another Love Story is reminiscent of a scrapbook, using torn strips of masking tape to roughly affix images so as to seem informal, some of which are afforded an additional sense of casual intimacy through domestic settings. In April, however, spectacular mountain views are made backdrop to a shot with the actor playing X’s head cut clean off and the photographer’s shown. In an adjacent image, further psychological layering takes place through multiple reflections in glass, splintering and fragmenting X as subject through the photographer’s gaze. In a number of instances, Hiraldo Voleau includes intensive repetition of the man’s face, as if the photographer (or viewer) is trying to work X out or, perhaps, as if to search for comparisons between X and the actor she has cast to play him. At the least, there is something verging on the voyeuristic in the repetitions, subjects that the photographer has explored in past bodies of work such as Hola Mi Amol (2019). A range of formats including small-scale prints arranged in lines and grids are mixed with full-bleeds. Resolution varies, and, while reaffirming the materiality of the images, the design of the book also references social media feeds and mobile phone camera rolls, those digital spaces that document, shape and underpin the ways lives are lived. These spaces are also part of the mechanisms through which relationships might be created and conveyed publicly, notable because in Hiraldo Voleau’s project, she intentionally re-visits and re-produces images that are personally significant after the fact.

May, the penultimate chapter, begins with sweaty bodies and smiling faces. These make way overleaf for images where photographer and actor-X are depicted wearing face masks on public transport, the bottom half of their faces redacted and unreadable. Actor-X sits at a restaurant table with his head in his hands, his face again hidden from sight. With June comes further obfuscation, a laptop now covering the lower half of his face. The concluding photograph in the book is a view in a car. Actor-X wears sunglasses, with the top half of his face glimpsed in the rear-view mirror in the top portion of the photograph. Through the windscreen, an open road lies ahead.

Three further text messages form an epilogue to the book. In this conversation between Hiraldo Voleau and A, who have formed, in a more genuinely surprising narrative twist, some sort of cathartic alliance in their shared experiences of X, there are self-reflexive mentions of the project, including its exhibition iterations which began with a display at MEP Studio in Paris in 2022. Optimistically, these snatches of text give both women some sense of closure. Hiraldo Voleau concludes: “Thank you. Nothing changes, I’m still so grateful that it is YOU in all of this. The show being in quite a long time, I’ll invite you to come later on. Please feel free to do so if you want! All the best til then!” ♦

All images courtesy the artist and Mörel © Karla Hiraldo Voleau

Another Love Story is published by Mörel.

Anneka French is a Curator at Coventry Biennial and Project Editor for Anomie, an international publishing house for the arts. She contributes to Art Quarterly, Burlington Contemporary and Photomonitor, and has had written and editorial commissions from Turner Prize, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, TACO!, Photoworks+ and Grain Projects. French served as Co-ordinator and then Director at New Art West Midlands, Editorial Manager at this is tomorrow and has worked at Tate Modern, London, Ikon, Birmingham and The New Art Gallery Walsall. 

RaMell Ross

Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body

Book review by Pelumi Odubanjo

Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body, RaMell Ross’ debut book published by MACK, is a potent visual reminder of the history of black American life, a kaleidoscope of lyricism, and visual and narrative abstraction. Pelumi Odubanjo considers the gravity of what it means to carry such an archive of black visuality.

Pelumi Odubanjo | Book review | 17 Nov 2023

In his debut monograph Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body, multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker and writer RaMell Ross reflects on the landscape and visual scope of the American South, reimagining it through a range of mediums, from large format photography and conceptual work, to film and writing. Journeying through the optical terrains of the region, Ross directs our attention through the everyday environments, bodies and structures which coalesce to form what he terms ‘Spell/Time/Practice/American/Body’. Unravelling these words through the five chapters which form his monograph, Ross invites us to reimagine the ways in which the visual may be used to disrupt our existence, in turn asking us what the black body is able to do, say and reperform when abstracted across land and time.

The monograph stretches over Ross’ interdisciplinary practice, mimicking a musical compilation album as we pace through its mystery and quotidian nature. Commencing with a pictorial account before combined with textual narrative, the story begins with the chapter “Spell”, set in South Country, Alabama, where Ross directed his Academy Award-nominated documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018). In the two photo series that are present in the monograph, Ross documents South County over two different periods, first from 2012 to 2014, and then from 2018 to 2022. Both capture the semi-ruralness of the land using an illuminating approach to photography, extending beyond the physical structures of the environment into intimate, multigenerational layered images of black communities in the American South.

In the opening series South County, AL (A Hale County), Ross plays on the idea of the undetected as he obscures place and person through various visual tricks; with some subjects facing away from the camera with their hoodies acting as figurative silhouettes, some using the parts of cars to fragment their bodies and others tactfully using light and shadow to allude to a slow unveiling of face and body. The series simultaneously inhabits pastoral and urban spaces as Ross repeatedly searches for new ways to abstract his subjects within the American landscape. In one image, titled “Yellow”, we see a young girl crouched down, the bend of her body mirroring the outline of the foliage that surrounds her. The rose bush that occupies the closest point to the camera obscures the girl, refusing to let her be shown in totality, the red petals slowly fading into the image, appearing as small glimmers of red paint flicked across the photograph. The young girl acts as a mediator to the image’s green hues, her small yellow dress delicately draped alongside the cut grass of the meadow, her small white hairclip and yellow hair accessories appearing as if extended parts of the rose bush closest to the camera’s eye. The image intends to draw the viewer directly towards one place: our young subject who rests in a state of adolescence and wonder. The viewer’s vision becomes purposely pixelated as the young girl’s body both fades away into the landscape and is illuminated through the camera’s unquestionable focus on her. This action is mirrored in Ross’ later image “Giving Tree”, where we see another young character with their body bent, facing downwards as they hang from an isolated tree. Again, Ross purposefully dissembles the young body, fragmenting and splintering it as a large branch passes through her abdominal area. The young girl folds herself across the bough, dressed in a loud red shirt that pronounces her against the natural palette of the surroundings. Her draped body appears lifeless, both contrasting and echoing the “still life” of the ongoing scene. This image awakens brutal memories of black bodies in the American South’s past, one where, in Alabama alone, it has been recorded that over 300 black people were lynched from 1877 to 1943 during the Jim Crow era. By draping herself from this tree, this young girl becomes one of the strange fruits as sung by Billie Holiday, forming a peculiar sight in a yet all too familiar setting.

With this latter image, Ross reminds us that, in its simplest form, a tree is not a symbol of terror. And in this scene, this girl is arguably creating her own sense of joy through play. As with the girl in the previous image, she is simply existing, a state that Ross is able to permit through his lens. It is in her imagination and desire to play that Ross captures what it means to reproduce images of black bodies within such landscapes. Ross creates an unease in his photographs that touches on racial history and violence through a blunt approach to image-making. In these ways, Ross positions his characters in an ontological plurality that so much of black life exists within, between past, present and future, living in an abstraction that lends itself to an inverted understanding of documentation. Ross forces his viewers to question the production of images that they are used to observing of the American South, and defends his right to abstraction, creating an expressiveness and lyricism that goes beyond documentation.

Moving towards various mixed-media and writings, Ross’ poetic works are scattered throughout the book. In Ross’ later poem, titled “Slangness”, we observe the interplay between what is textual and what is visual, his words becoming beacons of speech, yielding to the sling of his dialect, stripped to its bare rhythm. Ross’ playful words mirror the writing of poet and theorist Fred Moten, whose poetic verse and approach to black radical theory reopens wounds of blackness in its ontological form, allowing readers to consider what it means to strip blackness to its barest form. This creates space for transformation and transition, as something which exists in between various co-existing spaces and places.

Similarly to Moten’s style of poetic languaging of black social and cultural contexts, Ross uses his images and words to question what it means to exist in both the past and present as a black Southern body. Much of Moten’s work around the making of blackness is concerned with the specific conditions that form what we know as the black body. Looking into and beyond ideas around blackness in its bodily form, Moten is a writer concerned with the ways in which form and formlessness may be co-opted as tools to suggest alternative ways of viewing and understanding black life as it exists in the present. In this, Moten uses a form of voice composed of fragments, scattered across long sequences and varying shapes, a purposely abstracted form. His words draw you in, and ask you to read through the lines, with language serving as a means to both disrupt and resist expectation.

Ross’ words and imagery are activated through a vortex of abstraction, both in its formlessness and its form, as he allows words to take on new meanings within readings of his work. Similarly to Ming Smith and Roy DeCavara, photographers who leaned into abstraction to create images that enact the constellation of black life that surrounded them, and much like Moten in his writing, Ross uses language to create an inseparable dialogue that meditates our understanding of blackness in the American South. Most aptly seen in his “Black Dictionary (aka RaMell’s Dictionary)”, Ross uses abstraction to resist the system of capture, both linguistically and visually, recognising the role of the linguistic historical subjugation, and freeing them through a lively interplay of idiolect and dialect.

What is it that a black object does? What is blackness able to do in its abstraction? In Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body, Ross testifies that it can reclaim and free you. Occupying the chapter “Practice” is a documentation of Ross’ film Return to Origin (2021), a remarkable conceptual work in which the artist freight ships himself into a 4 x 8 ft box, a reference to Henry Brown who shipped himself to freedom in 1849. In this re-enactment, Ross uses historical references and filmmaking to create a conjunction between the past and present. In turn, Ross challenges us to reorient our understanding of “black objects”, and how through material, method and ways of being in the world, we may build our paths to freedom.

There is an argument that the mass volume of works included in this book causes it to wander at points, and in places risks losing its sense of narrative. However, it is through this abundance of material that we see the gravity of what it means to carry such an archive of black visuality. Ross’ work positions itself as a vital visual reminder of the history of black American life, a kaleidoscope of lyricism, and visual and narrative abstraction. ♦

All images courtesy the artist © RaMell Ross.

Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body is published by MACK.

Pelumi Odubanjo is a curator, writer and researcher based between London and Glasgow. She currently works as the Assistant Curator for Glasgow International, having previously held positions as a Curatorial Assistant at the Serpentine Galleries, London, and as Studio and Programmes Assistant at V.O Curations, London. Odubanjo has curated for festivals and institutions including Photo50 at the London Art Fair, Photo Oxford, Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, London, Brighton Photo Fringe and the Black Cultural Archives, amongst others. Her writing on contemporary photography, art and culture has appeared in Magnum Photos, New Contemporaries, Artillery Magazine, Photoworks and Photo Fringe.


1-RaMell Ross, “Open”, from South County, AL (A Hale County) (2012–14), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

2-RaMell Ross, “Man”, from South County, AL (A Hale County) (2018–22), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

3-RaMell Ross, “Ladrewya and Michelangelo”, from South County, AL (A Hale County) (2012–14), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

4-RaMell Ross, “Tomb 76: Catch”, from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

5-RaMell Ross, “Here”, from South County, AL (A Hale County) (2012–14), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

6-RaMell Ross, “Light in the Attic”, from Earth, Dirt, Soil, Land (2021), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

7-RaMell Ross, still from Return to Origin (2021), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

8-RaMell Ross, still from Return to Origin (2021), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

9-RaMell Ross, “Flag Case Black”, from Earth, Dirt, Soil, Land (2021), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.

10-RaMell Ross, “Dakesha and Marquise”, from South County, AL (A Hale County) (2012–14), from Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body (MACK, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and MACK.