After Y/arbus

After Y/arbus

A mural-sized enlargement of a snapshot of a young girl with her eyes closed is positioned beside a constellation of tin lids connected by gold threads.

The work evokes recognition of the blindness of memory as an analogue of seeing. It is in one sense After Alfred Yarbus, the Russian psychologist who pioneered the study of the eye’s saccadic movements (1967), and in another After Diane Arbus, the photographer of strange-ness, of the mystery of ordinary people whose inner lives she brought to mind if not to vision.

'The main photograph is of a girl posing for the camera with her eyes closed to the sun – or is she blind? The facing shots are of people gazing directly at the camera but partly obscured, blinded, by fingers and light fog, the usual accidents of family snapshots. Their eye contact with you remind you of how many photographs are a kind of mirror: a person looks at a photo and a person inside looks back. It's a strange encounter between flesh and phantasm.'

From Greg Neville exhibition review, Feb 2011

Copyright © Susan Fereday, 2019