Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present a new survey of the work of Liz Deschenes, who uses photography’s fundamental elements of light, chemistry, and time to explore the inherent meaning of the medium. The exhibition features installations that incorporate silvery cameraless photograms, made by exposing photographic paper to moonlight and sunlight, as well as work focused on the significance of color in industrial and commercial processes. This will be Deschenes’s first solo show with Fraenkel Gallery, following a 2017 exhibition that paired her work with Sol LeWitt’s.
In the metallic sheen of their surfaces, Deschenes’s mirror-like photograms reflect the architecture of the space around them, as well as the viewer. Carefully positioned in the gallery, their materials, dimension, and arrangements reference early photographic and cinematic techniques, from the illusion of depth proposed by Stereograph #33 to the slits of a zoetrope suggested by Timelines.
FPS (120), made up of 120 tall, narrow photograms installed in a row, is the latest in a series of works that allude to the frames per second needed by the human eye to transform a still image into a moving one. The work recalls the experimentations of 19th-century scientist Étienne-Jules Marey, whose inventions studied movement over time. In the rhythmic spacing of the panels, the work evokes a feeling of the flickering passage of time, while reflecting the segmented movement of the viewer. As curator Eva Respini notes, writing about Deschenes’s 2016 ICA/Boston survey, her work encourages “seeing as a physical act.”
Deschenes has long explored the role of color in connection with processes ranging from video compositing and topographical mapping to art conservation, examining how these systems are used to produce seen and unseen images. On view for the first time will be pink and blue works from her recent Indicator series, which reference the cobalt chloride-based color scale used to measure humidity in art conservation. The exhibition also includes works from her Green Screen series, which focuses on the brightly colored screens used in film and video production and special effects. These monochromatic photographs call attention to usually invisible technologies, and blur the line between photograph and object.