Text by Olivia Poloni
The title Studio Games may conjure up playful images of haphazard events or trivial experimentations, however, as always with the works of Janina Green, in this exhibition at Bus Projects we see deep reflections on the practice of making art and more specifically of making photographic art. This new work by Green explores what it is to make an image. Using analogue, digital and collage, the works are concerned with the physical and material interrogations that go into making contemporary photographic art. The exhibition questions: Why take an image? Why take an image of a specific thing? What is a fine art image in such an image-saturated world? How do we experience the image in these conditions?
Taken in the setting of her Kensington studio, Green brings together elements and objects from past works and sets them up with new players to contemplate her life dedicated to teaching, the studio and feminism, the last a theme she has been exploring with vehemence for decades. These large-scale collaged photographs present dialogues around the complex dualities of the studio and the home, the public and the private, the professional and the domestic. In earlier works we have seen the domestic profoundly explored through the placement of the body with household objects such as vases, mops and trays to comment on women’s perceived role as mother, homemaker and lover. Here we see snippets of these old friends come together with new accomplices’ including lone limbs, source imagery from magazines, books and earlier works, studio lighting and a reoccurring skull. Green states that the female presence in this work is in fact herself, the legs a symbol of her omnipresence in the studio space both physically and mentally.
One can read these new narratives as psychological and foreboding, a chamber of artistic secrets exposed, dark and messy. I however prefer to read them as meditations on an enduring artistic life dedicated to the complexities of pursuing a creative practice. Deeply personal and reflective, they explore the studio and the ethics of art making and we are privileged to have a rare glimpse into the tireless challenges and risks it entails.
Olivia Poloni 2019
05.06.19 - 29.06.19