Photography Is Magic Commission: Hands, 2015

Matt Lipps


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This work was created as part of the Photography Is Magic Commission project curated by Charlotte Cotton.   "The artists who have created bespoke works in response to Photography Is Magic reconsider photographic traditions and implement new skills to create their versions of photographic sleight of hand. Their photographic magic derives from the span of the medium’s rich history, from analog through to the newest imaging technologies, and is set within the framework of the present moment of visual culture." —Charlotte Cotton Matt Lipps reanimates historical photography into sculptural forms to create imaginative constellations of photographic references. Relying on our collective image memory banks of popular and iconic photographs, Lipps’s practice mimics the way the Web releases photographic images from their original contexts, meanings, and cultural statuses, instead showing photography to be a fluid material. Lipps created this work in response to the idea of “sleight of hand,” both referring to the dexterity of the magician and the absence of the artist’s hand in the process of combining existing photographic images. "My practice begins with the construction of three-dimensional tableaux of imagery appropriated from popular and high culture, alongside vernacular photographs and my personal collection of negatives. Using collage strategies, I cut out fragments from this idiosyncratic archive and make freestanding paper dolls, which are displayed according to sculptural tropes and theater staging, as well as intuitive organization. These redeployed elements act as visual prompts, playing on viewers’ visual literacy; they point to various moments from our history with the past 170 years of the disseminated image. The resulting constructions are rephotographed and printed at a much larger size than the originals, thereby creating scale shifts that inspire reflection about the operation of the photographic objects on the embodied surface." —ML  

Archival pigment print
Print Paper Size: 40 x 32 inches
Print Image Size: 40 x 32 inches
Edition of 2 and 1 artist proof
Signed and numbered by the artist