Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

Anne Collier at MCA Chicago

Anne Collier's new show at the MCA Chicago spans a decade of the photographer's sly, incisive images.

 - December 2, 2014

Last week Anne Collier’s solo show opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the photographer’s first major museum exhibition, surveying her work since 2002. In Collier’s work, the camera itself becomes an object that must be examined through photographs, often leading her to photograph photographs, whether they are her own or from others. She often isolates commercial images to point out their sublimated politics. Her longstanding “Woman with a Camera” series reverses our gaze on ad-happy models or recognizable actresses like Cheryl Tiegs posing with cameras. By making these images the still-life subjects of photographs, Collier forces us to reconsider who is looking at whom as well as confound the object and the observer. She makes sly use of visual language by allusion, as in her image Cut, a photographic representation of the notorious eye-slicing scene of Un Chien Andalou: a photograph of the photographer’s eye is bisected whilst trapped in a paper cutter. In her recurring images of eyes, often also presented as photographs of photographs, she places the act of seeing at the forefront of her work, in a kind of Russian-doll effect. The exhibition, which runs through March 8, 2015, is aptly titled Anne Collier, in the same self-reflexive impulse that characterizes her photographs.