water & architecture : Paris Biennale 1998

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Project Proposal

Adrian Himmelreich
Centre national de la photographie
01.12.97, New York
Re: Biennale De L'image Paris 98
Dear Adrian Himmelreich,
Here, finally (sorry for the delay I have been very busy) some answer to your fax from last week concerning my work. You have asked for a description of which project I am currently working on and also what kind of work I would propose for the Biennale.
Well, you have seen my documentation: photo - installations on flat walls. In Paris I would like to go a little further. I would like to work on the wall and also put pieces on the floor.
I am planning to work directly with the exhibition space: to put a huge amount of different kinds of work with and about the media photography on wall and floor. Like collages, photographs of projected images, sketches, prints in different sizes, 3D objects made of photographs and other materials. My idea is to build an overlapping image-idea-information pinboard-like space that gives a feeling of a temporary state of mind. And also reflects the fact that work, thoughts and visions are constantly changing and developing, and that doing work dealing with certain issues leads to the next discovery, that there is no final solution but an ongoing dialogue.
I would like to cover walls and floors with lots of work, like lots of hints that are related to each other and create an open, free space to think. This would represent a visible expression of this feeling of development and overlapping ideas.
And now a few words explaining the content of the work I am planning to show: -the work is a "discussion" about the medium of photography, how I like to work in different ways with it. How I think photography can be used to create new realities with my hands and eyes without using computers.
  • the work is about exhibition spaces and in a way against the notion of a final art product
  • the work is about our environment, the space we live in and the space we desire. City space vs Human space.
Cityspace: how architecture dictates the way we move, and where we should feel free. Swimmingpools: are holes in the ground, rectangular like the negative form of city-architecture (buildings) and they also allow a certain freedom in 3D movement.
Deserts: are empty spaces consisting of nothing but horizon and surface, no depths.
Water: is the beginning of life, real depth
Boxes: People live in boxes called apartments, in bigger boxes called buildings. People make boxes to contain content, they are called containers.
I like the idea of a box that contains content.
  • the work is about me and my body, being in-between or outside.
Does it make any sense for you?
This is all for today.
If you have any questions please contact me.
yours Susa Templin

Lewis Baltz: Text for Paris Biennale Catalog

Susa Templin
Born in 1965, lives and works in New York
"My own work", she wrote, "is about exhibition space, and ... against the notion of a final art product".
Trained as a painter and a film maker Susa Templin's allegiance to photography is contingent, "I want to use photography in a different way ... to show what I think, see, feel and wish, even though it is invisible...". "It's important to lose respect for the conventions of the medium ... photography makes it possible to produce many cheap pictures. It's interesting to show a vision or an idea but not to show skill or physical handwork".
Templin's febrile, nervous environments of shifting boundaries and oceanic imagery, coupled with her strategic disregard for the definitive object reference an agenda that quietly subverts both Modernist and the Post-modernist orthodoxies.
Templin's iconography privileges the notion of dislocation and fluidity: bodies of water / bodies in water; water in the city / the city submerged. The city and the water as two sites where movement is possible along both the x and y coordinates, and both are containers for the body, its movements and its processes. "Water symbolizes the decision of how you want to move, if you want to be on the surface or if you want to go deep inside; it's the beginning of life, and of real depth. There is no up or down".
"Deserts : empty spaces ... horizon and surface".
"Cityspace: how architecture dictates the way we move, and where we should feel free. "Swimming pools are ... the negative image of the city".
"Boxes: ... apartments, in bigger boxes ... buildings. People construct boxes to contain content: containers. I like the idea of a box that contains content".
"Me and my body : being in-between or outside ; being involved, showing that sometimes I'm totally weak and sometimes I'm strong".
Susa Templin's citations from an interview with Lewis Baltz, New York City, December, 1997
from the Catalog "Biennale de lĀ“lmages Paris, 1998" a joint publication by the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris and Actes Sud Publishers, Arles

ISBN 2-86754-116-6