(born in 1956, lives in Los Angeles)
From 1979 to the present I have produced a number of works attempting to rethink the genre of portraiture. What all these works have in common is a social or cultural representation of the subject represented, not an expression of the sitter’s subjectivity. My first selection, Brasil, is a work from 1989, which functioned as a footnote to a much larger work of the same year, Angola to Vietnam*. It is a collage, an unmodified cover of the August 1988 issue of Elle magazine feature seven models in sailor caps, each bearing the name of a different country: China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the USA. It is also a group portrait, at the time I saw it as a kind of musical comedy working with different notions of beauty, international relations, a high-seas fantasy of an all-female international navy. My next selection Mustafa Kinte (Gambia); Camera: Makina 67 506347; Plaubel Feinmechanik und Optik GmbH; Borsigallee 37; 60388 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Shirt: van Laack Shirt Kent 64; 41061 Mönchengladbach, Germany; Dirk Sharper Studio, Berlin, July 20th, 2007 (2008), is from my most recent body of work. It, too, is a period piece — an image that is a type of collage without scissors. It is constructed using three basic elements: the sitter, Mustafa Kinte; the camera, Plaubel Makina 67, a rare and very sought-after medium format camera; and a shirt, manufactured by the well-known company, van Laack, which employed Marcel Broodthaers as a model for an advertisement in "Der Spiegel" in 1971. ("Natürlich bekommen Sie für den Preis eines van Laack Hemdes zwei andere"). This photograph is a play of late 60s/early 70s post-colonial images of empowerment produced by the Left (think Jean Rouch or Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Pierre Gorin in Mozambique), which represent a marginalized subject after being given the means of self-representation (the camera), in order to produce an authentic local culture (another type of fantasy).