Untitled (submarines), 2007
Untitled (submarines), 2007

Lynne Cohen
Untitled (submarines), 2007
119,5 x 144,5 cm
Edition of 5 ex + 1 AP
In Situ - fabienne leclerc, Paris



Untitled (Submarines)

If it were not for the ceiling and the doorway, you might think you were looking at an empty swimming pool. The proportions of the place don't look right, and it is difficult to be sure whether the space is big or little. I find this claustrophobic. The opening on the right seems to offer a way out, but I fancy the only real exit is the trapdoor on the floor.


The stars of the show, besides the glossy yellow wall and the gridded floor, have to be the submarines, however. The three of them, big and little, are out and about. I think of the famous "Family of Man" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1950s, which many of us regarded as overly sentimental. You have to believe me that this site is exactly as I found it. In the actual photographic print, the black of the silhouettes is deep and woolly, as rich as the colour pigment in an early Anish Kapoor sculpture. You feel you are being pulled into a black hole. The distance between the "family" and the shiny ceramic-tiled wall is also tangible. I'm not sure why, or that, it matters, but the blackness of the submarines takes my breath away. It is amazing that with such minimal means, it is possible to create "infinity".


The photograph is like some of my other pictures. You can almost get inside it. This is askin to what happens in Baroque painting. The viewer is engaged physically as well as psychologically. It was never a problem for me to borrow from the Baroque as well as the art of today. That is my baggage. It is different from the baggage that younger artists generally carry. But this is howit is for me.

The picture makes no big political or social claim. There are no extremes in my work. No real suffering or unbridled joy. This does not mean that I am not concerned with the human condition. To the contrary, I would like to think my work contributes in a little and roundabout way to making the world a better place.


Catalogue "Lynne Cohen - Faux Indices" - Exhibition at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - from February 7 to April 28, 2013 / Lynne Cohen & François LeTourneux (Page 63)