Jo Longhurst: On Perfection and Photography: A Contemporary Moment
I am an artist who works with photography, video, performance and installation, exploring ideas of perfection and traditions of photographic practice. I plan to discuss the making of two bodies of work which question received conventions of photography.
In The Refusal - a study of the British show Whippet - I investigate the world of dog breeding: traditions of photographic portraiture, perfect body form, and the contradictory controlling / loving relationship between human and dog. As part of my working process I use a variety of photographic equipment normally used to record and classify human physiognomies, including state-of-the-art technologies and those already considered obsolete such as stereoscopic cameras.
Other Spaces further develops my interest in perfection. Drawing on appropriated professional sports photographs made over the past 100 years, as well as my own original photographic source material made as visiting artist at the World Gymnastics Championships and two national gymnastics clubs, these works highlight the physical and emotional experiences of elite gymnasts in training and competition. As with the dog project, my new work involves spectacle, competition and ideas of excellence – in gymnastics and in photography. Other historic references - Liubov Popova & Alexander Rodchenko's revolutionary experiments with aesthetic form, and Plato's perfect solids - inspire my hybrid sculptural installations, which draw from these earlier attempts to define and create perfect worlds.