This image is part of Lynn Cohen's Occupied Territory series, also published as Cohen's first monograph (Aperture, 1987). The book is Cohen's visual exploration of the world's readymade sculptures that exist in common places like classrooms, offices, and waiting rooms, she amplifies the awkwardness that occurs when the inhabitants attempt to create a feeling of warmth and individualism in otherwise sterile environments.
Surveying the surface of this particular space, Cohen allows her camera to describe an innate contradiction of order and incongruity. Due to the geometric organization within the room, the sculptural figure of the female form becomes arbitrary. The archetypal form that is being shown is meant to invoke feelings of hominess, however her transparency and gesture negate her purpose as she presents dinner to an empty room.
This limited-edition photograph is being released on the occasion of a newly expanded and updated reissue of Occupied Territory, making Cohen's pioneering work available to a contemporary audience and situating her appropriately within the lineage of Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore, and other widely celebrated Topographic photographers.
Lynne Cohen (born in Racine, Wisconsin, 1944) studied painting and sculpture before turning to photography. Her work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum voor Fotografie, Antwerp; Barbican Art Centre, London; and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Cohen is represented by Art 45, Montreal; Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago; James Hyman Gallery, London; and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels; among others. In 2011, she was awarded the inaugural Scotiabank Photography Award. She lives and works in Montreal.