Talia Chetrit’s latest images bring the camera home.
Created over the last two years, the works in DICKERING unfold in the spaces where we loosen up and allow the coherent personas we craft for the outside world to melt away. Chetrit trains our attention on the intimate sites where personal boundaries dissolve, roles are negotiated, and power fluctuates moment-to-moment. In Chetrit’s portraits of domestic life the cast of characters includes herself, her boyfriend, their child, cat, and a selection of props that intermingle with the quotidian routines of child rearing and the home. In Untitled, (Family #1), 2021, her boyfriend, dressed in women’s designer clothes, feeds their child without breaking his piercing gaze. And in Untitled (Family #2), 2021, wearing nothing but a blousy vest, he smiles cheerily at the camera while their child pokes at an uncovered electrical outlet. Despite the pretense of self-exposure in these and so many of Chetrit’s images, few of her works disclose much about the actual structure of her life, the nature of her habits, or her internal sense of self. Even in her self-portrait, in which Chetrit poses pregnant and draped only in a white button down shirt, the vulnerability of the image is undermined and refracted by her distorted face, covered with smeared makeup and a nylon stocking. The power of Chetrit’s latest images hinges on an odd ambivalence between their banal settings and the presentations adopted by the adults within them. The characters’ gender contrivances and charms shift circumstance to circumstance and image to image, adding intrigue to the trappings of a middle-class life that serve as background. The posed postures and direct stares assumed by Chetrit and her boyfriend are less clues to their inner natures and more regular reminders of the camera’s presence, as well as the person behind it. These images revel in the fact that they are con- structions, and as such they beg the question: who’s calling the shots in this drama? We imagine conversations about clothing, props, choreography, lighting, and setting, and the dialogue about what is presentable when first looking at the film. These works present a new set of negotiations between photographer, camera, and subject.
Talia Chetrit (b. 1982, Washington DC.) lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, at institutions such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Sculpture Center, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; among others. Chetrit’s most recent solo museum exhibitions include Amateur, MAXXI BVLGARI PRIZE, MAXXI, Rome(2018); and Showcaller, Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2018).