SIMONE GILGES presents, in her second New York solo exhibition at Foxy Production, a new series of photographic portraits. Her photographs draw astute visual connections between the people she portrays and the settings in which they are posed. Gilges channels the tropes of portrait, design, and fashion photography into an enigmatic idiom that both discloses and holds onto its secrets.
Links among the works propose intriguing interpretations of the relationship between the individual and the group. Her subjects – friends of hers from Berlin – maintain a discrete integrity within their own photographs; in series, however, they form a conceptual network that is alluded to rather than literally elaborated.
They have an intimate relationship with her camera that contrasts with the theater of their poses and dress. Their self-possessed countenances defy easy readings: their faces give away as much and as little as their clothing, décor, and objects do. Gilges is as interested in the fictions that may fly around her photographs as any biographical facts that be may be gleaned by the viewer.
Gilges shoots with medium-format film and develops her own prints, a now arcane practice that adds to the sense of otherness of her photographs. This feeling is balanced by the powerful presence each of her sitters possesses, giving the series a paradoxical mix of the historical and the contemporary. This fusion of timelessness and immediacy is also evident in the traces of historical avant-gardes – from Surrealist photography to experimental theater and design – that are visible as cues within Gilges’ richly poetic scenes.
Credits: Installation photography by Mark Woods.