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Barbara Kasten’s “Stages” Reviewed in X-TRA

x-tra photo for kasten post

x-tra photo for kasten post

In the Summer 2016 issue of X-TRA, Susanna Newbury reflects on the ICA’s 2015 Barbara Kasten retrospective:

“[The recent exhibition Barbara Kasten: Stages] takes its strength from an exploration of the world beyond static or fixed images. Photographs extend beyond pictures, beyond prints, to participate as facsimiles in tasks and exchanges. By recursively restaging the same elements—the textured sphere, the jagged pyramid, phantasmal Plexiglas, and mirror multiplying the tableau—they treat props like actors moving from scene to scene, “body doubles” for the presence and ghosting of the artist in action. Beyond the fact of depiction, Kasten’s images register responsive encounters with things, both in the tactile process of arranging her ensemble and through the analytic and distancing process of conferring with the camera. This performative and participatory staging exceeds the narrow definition they have received as formal prints, and their earlier critical dismissal as embodiments of commercial style. Neither simply materialist antecedents nor process resolved in formal language, Kasten’s works demonstrate studio-based production that far surpasses the rhetoric of final images.”

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