Marcel Broodthaer’s delight in found objects, not to mention dissolving images (as featured in yesterday’s entry) brings us today to the work of Anna Barriball. This image of a seemingly melting tree from 2006 was first shown in our exhibition of Anna’s work that same year and belongs to a body of work made using photographs and slides found in street markets. With the photographs Anna’s touch is always light and sometimes even humorous: blowing a bubble of ink across the surface or obscuring images of buildings behind white framer’s mount board with a ‘window mount’ cut through the board to reveal the positions of the windows.
This series of works made with ‘found’ slides have the lightest touch of all. In contrast to the artist’s often labour-intensive graphite rubbings, drawings and sculptures, these works exist without her physical involvement. They are elevated to art objects on the basis of their imperfections, but otherwise appear unchanged. The original images are blown out or corrupted almost beyond recognition, but not quite – there’s a blurring of certainty that suggests the shifting forms and textures of an alternative reality. As Anna once said (speaking about another work, but the sentiment applies equally here) “I wanted to create an awareness of looking, a moment of recognition that goes beyond the literal”.