Saturday, January 20, 2007

Christopher Williams's work


Williams's photographic and filmic works draw heavily from German Neue Sachlichkeit photography but move beyond its indexical nature to a politics of "re-seeing," in which titles and objects (or objects and their referents) play out dialectical relationships, producing often startling new ways of seeing what has been seen before. His series "Angola to Vietnam" places together photographs of the flowers of glass from the Harvard Botanical Museum with titles drawn from State Departments lists of countries known for substantial human rights abuses. Or, as in this show, the images of the Grande Dixence dam, a dam featured in Godard's 1954 and first film, "Operation Beton." His "Department of Water, 1953-63 Dakar, Senegal May 16, 1996 (Nr. 1, 2 and 3)" place a German photographic tradition in a postcolonial environment, inviting us to refigure ideas of the western urban landscape to a concept of a globally-inflected cosmopolitan one.

Generally, Williams's work is a public thinking through of shared concerns of how we select to represent a global culturally-charged environment and certainly invites us into a continuing discussion of these issues.


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