Issue 133, Winter 1994
The catalyst for this work happened to have been a moment in Germany in 1993 when I was watching a program on TV which was the American equivalent of Current Affair. The program was dubbed, so the voices didn’t always fit. A young boy was seen riding a bicycle but pointing frantically to somewhere outside the camera frame. He was mouthing words but nothing was audible. There was a sense of drama and anxiety which I found really interesting. I’m interested in how the viewer identifies with the problems presented in the picture.
I like the purity of the two forms—text and photograph. One is completely different from the other. Viewers who are reading the text already create an image in their heads. On the other hand, the picture on the other side is received in text as well—a text is conjured up while looking at the picture. They imagine to themselves that the picture is about this thing or another. They identify with the picture through text and language. There is always a disjunction between the text which you conjure up and the image which you conjure up, and the actual image and text that is there. Because it isn’t fixed, it creates this agitated resonating moment for all kinds of possible readings, and that’s what I'm after.
It isn’t interesting to depict someone just having a drink of coffee and not thinking about anything, but then if we were to depict the same guy drinking coffee and then added text, we could see that he's thinking about the fact that he’s not doing well at work. Only then does it become a much more interesting image. I go to great lengths to stage these events. Why not just take a snapshot? Because I can’t control it. I don't want a snapshot. If you can’t control it, the reading of the work is not going to be directed. In that sense, I’m quite a conservative artist.