Contemporary artists are links in a chain of influence that manufactures the possibilities of an artwork and are no longer its source.
- The Value of Things, Neil Cummings & Marysia Lewandowska
Creating homages from objects found around her house – food stuff, office supplies, dishes and cleaning items – Toronto-based artist Susana Reisman‘s ongoing series entitled Domestic Disclosures playfully speaks to the ‘history of art’ and engages with the idea of influence.
This series engages with the idea of familiarity, repetition and transformation, in relation to that which makes up our everyday. For this project I have turned inwards to take a close look at my domestic environment and the everyday items I use during the daily routines of cooking, cleaning and working at home.
To begin, I decided to set up a ‘stage’—a neutral background—where I could photograph these objects outside of their everyday environment and function. Each day, I would choose a new item, set it on the stage and perform a series of improvised alterations to it. In making these ephemeral sculptures I soon realized, and became interested in the fact, that in some instances the gestures I performed and the forms that these objects assumed, subconsciously referenced artworks of which I am very fond.
In retrospect, this seems fortuitous and indeed bound to happen, as I am continually engaging with art of all kinds (in galleries, museums, books, magazines and on the web). Inevitably these artworks are processed and digested in various ways. And it is those artists, whose work, strategies and interventions I admire the most that have been more fully digested and have become such familiar territory. They have influenced how I work and how I see the world and they have become a part of my own visual vocabulary and repertoire.
Do these homemade, domestic sculptures—and in some cases homages—allow us to view these displaced materials (and their art historical references) any differently? Are we, as contemporary artists, indebted and possibly even bound or limited by the work of our predecessors and the history of art?
Susana Reisman was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1977. She received a BA in Economics from Wellesley College (Boston, MA) in 1999 and an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York) in 2005. An internationally exhibiting artist, she is represented by Marcia Rafelman Fine Arts (Toronto), Peak Gallery (Toronto) and Spazio Zero Gallery (Caracas). She lives and works in Toronto.
See more photographic work from this series by Susana Reisman available through Circuit Gallery.