The neighbor, the friend, the lover
Jan 13 – Mar 26, 2023
Carmen Winant is a writer and visual artist who explores representations of women through collage, mixed media and installation. While her practice is often couched in the realm of photography, it is decidedly different than most photographic practices in that she collects images so that they can be entered into an index of sorts. The index is determined by the nature, context and ideas of the project for which they are being considered. Winant’s way of working, along with utilizing installation and collage strategies to examine feminist modes of survival and revolt, also begins to question the very nature of photography; what it is now and toward what it might be evolving.
The title for this exhibition is drawn from the Marxist feminist scholar and activist Silvia Federici’s writings on the ‘discipline of sexuality’ under capitalism in her book Witches, Witch Hunting, and Women. In Federici’s writing “The neighbor, the friend, the lover” are general categories into which women are placed culturally.
The work began a number of years ago as Winant, while moving from studio to studio, carried with her a page from an old “gentlemen’s” magazine which she always placed in her studio window, allowing the sun to illuminate it from behind. It was, she noted, something her children would do, holding a magazine page with an image up to the light allowing the image from the verso to show through and conflate, merging the images into a singular new. She recognized that doing this pointed to the slippage between “meaning making”. This allowed Winant to think about this blending of print images, particularly as it concerned questions of gendered power vis-à-vis visuality, feminism, and capitalism. This seemingly simple gesture also drew her attention to the photograph as an object, always with a front and a back.
In this way, Winant began to consider the idea of the nude female figure, especially within the contexts of 20th century photographic history and the women’s liberation movement. She questioned the very basic idea of who, in images drawn from a wide variety of sources, holds power in their making and, over time, in their perception within the fundamental relationship between pleasure and its performance.
The initial context of this work was in a group exhibition in Copenhagen regarding the history of northern European witch hunts. This context severed as an initial focus for the work, allowing Winant to consider the threat that women’s sexuality poses to state power.
The work consists of series of found, double sided images; magazine pages from a spectrum of sources that are illuminated on lightboxes. Entering the darkened theater of the gallery, the 30 light-boxes somberly speaks of this complex and often troubled history in an uneasy present.
Winant is the Roy Lichtenstein Endowed Chair of Studio Art at Ohio State University and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in photography. Her publications include My Birth, published concurrently with her break-through work of the same name in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018 and A Brand New End: Survival and Its Pictures published in conjunction with her 2022 exhibition at The Print Center, Philadelphia, and available in The Co Shop.
Stene Projects, Stockholm
Education & Public Programs
Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr.
The Co receives operating support from Culture Works, Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and Members.
Artist Talk: Carmen Winant
Friday, Mar 3 @ 6:30 pm
in The Co’s Ira H. and Susan P. Thomsen Family Gallery
Watch live on: