An artist whose staged portraits replicate the language of the household photograph album has gained a single of the most prestigious prizes in images, with judges stating her perform “reframes and reclaims the black experience”.
Deana Lawson from Rochester, New York, was awarded the £30,000 Deutsche Börse Images Basis prize 2022 at the Photographers’ Gallery in London for her solo exhibition Centropy, held at Kunsthalle Basel two years back.
Brett Rogers, the director of the Photographers’ Gallery and chair of the Deutsche Börse jury, praised Lawson’s inventiveness and the complexity of her approach to impression making.
“Her function, which reframes and reclaims the black practical experience, harnesses the standard and the experimental and opens up a pretty one of a kind link in between the every day and the mystical,” she stated.
“Her subject issue sits someplace involving the ‘here and now’ and the past, a individual and a men and women, the staged and the naturalistic, in a method which is not didactic or issue-driven, but truly radical. The boldness of her eyesight and the empowered sensibility she provides to her protagonists is evidently the final result of a very carefully nuanced collaboration with her solid of ‘family’ users, which sites her in a scarce placement of partner or narrator fairly than auteur.”
Lawson is renowned for her personal staged portraits that discover intergenerational interactions and their consequences within just black tradition. They replicate tropes from documentary images and artwork historical past as effectively as the language of the relatives picture album.
She routinely positions gals as central protagonists, along with the presence of elders, totemic male figures and symbolic archetypal people, this sort of as the celestial boy or girl. The illustrations or photos depict acquainted domestic configurations but consist of some unsettling component – what the artist calls portals into other worlds, or portrayals of loss of life or beginning.
Visitors are launched to what Lawson calls her “ever-increasing mythological family”.
Anne-Marie Beckmann, the director of the Deutsche Börse Images Foundation, stated that though Lawson was grounded in the traditions of photography and in many means really classical, her illustrations or photos made available up new possibilities for the medium and its reception.
“Interrogating the posture of the black physique in visual culture and playing with tropes these types of as household portraiture, artifice and mother nature, she normally takes the private and helps make it political, forcing an generally unsettling contemplation of how and what we see.”
The presentation at The Photographers’ Gallery marks Lawson’s initial institutional exhibit in the United kingdom. The jury also acknowledged the work of the other shortlisted artists – Anastasia Samoylova, Gilles Peress and Jo Ractliffe.