Untitled Found Objects

Untitled Found Objects
1993
lightboxes with display transparencies:
320 x 320 x 200 mms
430 x 320 x 200 mms


'In Susan Fereday's series of Untitled Found Objects, 1993, we are presented with a number of ambiguous images rephotographed and enlarged from magazine advertisements, As in earlier work drawn from similar sources, Fereday interrogates at close range the grain and space of commercial advertising for its particular form of attraction. Her work examines the way photography sells rather than the product for sale. For example, the banal origins of these images - as mere details in the mass print media - are recast within her work as the microscopic sites of commodity fetishism. Their slick duratrans surfaces and their illumination from behind, parody the tantalising emanations of window displays and bus shelter advertising. However, by preventing the identification of goods and thereby thwarting commercial imperatives for the original images, her rephotographs leave any and all desire for these unknown objects unsated, roaming the print surface for relief in a constantly forestalled product ID.

This delinquent consumption of images is (here) rerouted through a serial repetition of elliptical motifs so that beyond their associations with advertising they reappear as abstract emblems, transports to the sublime underside of commercial photographic culture. The title contains a clue to this potential through its allusion to UFOgraphy. For example, in George Adamski's photographs of UFOs in the 50s, lampshades became extraterrestrial spaceships according to the same potential. By obfuscating the banal origins of the referent, Adamski's photographs worked to escalate the meaning and profundity of certain abstracted forms. Since photographs must always be of something, where this requisite relation to the real is unclear they can be of anything.

Fereday's abstract commercial motifs lead the viewer to similar indeterminate, and possibly sublime, realms. Unlike Adamski's photography, however, they are not motivated by Venutian edicts concerning the Earth's salvation. Rather, they turn the photographic process inside out to reveal the intrinsic, material allure of photographs and their transcendental potential.'

Stuart Koop, catalogue essay, Reflex, curator Stuart Koop, Centre for Contemporary Photography, 1993