December 10, 2012

Uta Barth: The Density of Light

Photography is shaped to the measure of perception, which means that it fails in many of the same ways as our experience of the world, adding in turn failures of its own, both practical and historical, errors in judgement or expectation. But the medium does not stop at “reading” the brute fact of a particular subject, seen at a particular moment – rather this is merely where it begins and the work of Uta Barth has been concerned with, above all, these material complexities of vision; what she has made of them is at once a poetics and an interrogation. Barth has turned photography against itself, positions are exchanged and (perceptual) certainties undermined. Her most insistent theme has been to question the means by which photography makes the world visible to us, to elegantly probe its limitations. In fact, these are key to its seductive illusion of presence – leaving only the density of light and time.