Monday, November 5, 2018
Susan Lipper - Domesticated Land
Susan Lipper's new book-work Domesticated Land was published by MACK in April of this year. At Photo London in May I acquired a copy. It's a work that haunts the mind.
MACK say this: It was in April 2012 that Lipper began to make pictures in the California desert. This was the beginning of Domesticated Land, her enigmatic ﬁnale in a trilogy of books, following Grapevine (1988–1992) and trip (1993–1999). The three-part journey, which spanned nearly thirty years and ended in 2016, saw Lipper travel from the forested Appalachian frontiers in the East of the United States – with a stint across the I-10 highway – to the so-called wilderness of the West. Her expedition was anchored in a dual search for ‘true’ America and her own territory: a personal, female perspective of a male-driven land, and a new ﬁctional account of a well-trodden narrative. Pushing and pulling against the documentary tradition, Lipper’s Land is her last resort in quest of a redeemable future.
Superficially, Lipper's pictures don't appear to say much. They are quiet and understated. And in these days of mid-term hype, piss and political wind that's a valuable position to occupy. And a position I've always liked, images that are simple yet loaded. Lipper's pictures personify this. There is a back story to every picture, something has happened and something else is about to... just what, we are left to work out. In my reading there is also something apocalyptic in this work, something sinister and disquieting. These empty spaces seem to be one gigantic crime scene... who were the victims, who were the perpetrators... If I was to compare Domesticated Land with another book-work that I admire and one that exhibits the same level of restraint and refinement it would have to be John Gossage's book THE POND. John Gossage knows the value of understatement and so does Susan Lipper. And further, Susan Lipper knows what is takes to make something out of nothing, and that's what art that works is supposed to do. Get this book!
If you're in Paris this week, Susan Lipper will be signing Domesticated Land, at Paris Photo, 5pm Saturday November 10, MACK stand SE3.