87-Year-Old Artist Barbara Kasten on How Her New Career-Defining Monograph Shows She’s More Than Just a Photographer, Taylor Dafoe, δημοσίευση στο Artnet News [13/3/2023]
Barbara Kasten’s best-known work is, in a sense, all about flattening. So good is she at this technique, though, that her successes have, ironically, had a flattening effect on how her work has been received, understood, and supported.
Fortunately, a new monograph from Skira looks to expand the narrative around the now 87-year-old artist. Called “Barbara Kasten: Architecture & Film (2015–2020),” the book looks at the most recent chapter of her five-decade-long career—an ultra-fruitful period for the artist that coincided with a newfound interest in her work from a young generation of curators and critics—outside the limiting lens of photography.
If you’ve ever read an article or review about Kasten, chances are it contained a line like this: “In her studio, Kasten stages makeshift tableaus with angular pieces of plexiglass, mirror, and other industrial objects, then lights and photographs them.”
You probably also learned about the illusive quality of her pictures and their supposed debt to the geometric abstractions of the Constructivists, say, or the material preoccupations of the Light and Space movement. You almost certainly read that she prefers old-school, analog processes, and never uses Photoshop.
This information is all accurate. It’s even useful, offering readers ingress into the artist’s reference-laden world. But you’ll notice that in the passages above, as with almost every piece of writing about Kasten, the descriptions of the artist’s work are actually just descriptions of her process, and they’re recounted largely through the language of the photographic. That hasn’t always sat well with her.
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