Zoe Crosher's The Unraveling of Michelle duBois is a reconsidered archive culled from crates, boxes and albums consisting of endless flirtatious smiles, tourist shots, cheesecake mementos and suggestive poses in every film type and size. It is simply an archive. But nothing is ever simple. Michelle duBois, one of a number of aliases, kept a lot of pictures of herself. Turning tricks in the Pacific Rim during the '70s, she took on many guises for her particular profession and kept fanatical documentation of her many dramatic transformations. Until one day, she didn't.
In this edition project for Aperture, Zoe Crosher has slowed down and mapped out the stages of material disappearance, creating a unique image in each stage of this fourteen step process where the image of the Naughty Nurse progressively transforms into a sea of mute whiteness; the information degrades and fades out, leaving only the traces of a fantasy history. Pictures of pictures. Of obfuscated faces, of repeated shadows in dark black & white doorways, of tiger prints and arched backs, of backs of backs of photographs and backs of necks, of eyes and mirrors and reflections, of notes taken and rewritten, scanned and scratched, kept and held and returned - all of which are coming undone in various shades of magenta and yellow and cyan.
The photographic archive itself is dissolving, the pictures are fading, new surfaces are showing through. The two archives are collapsing into each other, conflating the history of the reordering of the unraveling and the unraveling itself. Their material, the photograph as a thing, is itself ending. Framed and reframed, duBois's Asianesque escapism viewed through the lens of Crosher's transience obsessions provoke our own fantasies, encapsulating an imagined amateur history. One that is almost gone, never to be discovered or, as in this case, bequeathed ever again. Except here, momentarily halting the process for another peek, coyly giving us something vibrant to see.
Zoe Crosher (born in 1975) currently lives in Los Angeles, where she has taught at the Art Center of UCLA. She was awarded the Here and Now Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and is represented by Perry Rubinstein.