Artist Bianca Brunner’s practice investigates the paradoxical qualities of photography, illuminating the complexity of the printed image.

The writer Brian Dillon describes photography as the ‘disembodiment of vision’, because a photograph is a privileged frame through which we view an erstwhile reality. Though we cannot touch that reality we grant it credence, even if countless examples of photographic manipulation should have taught us to doubt. Bianca Brunner’s images are entirely true, in the sense that she photographs what is before her and does not subsequently manipulate it, yet her images are also a re-embodiment, for they invest new possibility in her subjects. If photography negates the other sensory faculties, its reliance on vision provides fresh potential into which Brunner delves.

Brunner’s images are records of structures, signs and objects that exist in her studio or outdoors. They are created to be photographed and to exist only for a fleeting moment. These props do not readily fall into either category of sculpture or symbol, creating an ambiguous record that is emphasised by the modest scale of the photographs ultimately exhibited. Nonetheless, though spare and verging on abstraction, Brunner’s works are of subjects such as flags, towers or bursts of light. This vocabulary is simple but hints at longing or wanderlust. It is unsurprising that such candid simplicity catalyses a wealth of associations and evocation for many viewers.

As ever larger and more detailed photographic printing becomes possible, Brunner’s work operates in a different register to that of many of her peers. Her intent is not to reveal all or to astound, but to retain the possibility of doubt. The surface of this photography marks a threshold, a point of fruitful contradictions between volume and flatness, intimacy and mystery, using subjects that create significance to resonate beyond the image itself.

Something Human project: W I T H (OUT)


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