“When I was starting out, conceptual photography had become something that had to be amateur-like, that had to be black-and-white, or photocopied, or really not an object in order to be taken seriously. It had to work against technical mastery, and so on. So I think that my work is full of obstacles in the sense that it does look highly familiar and accessible. It does look like it’s already ‘solved at first sight.’ It does look like it’s part of a larger industry. There are all these clues in the initial interaction with the work that offer a safe space, and of course, they collapse very quickly, depending on how much you engage with the work. I used to refer to my photos as free radicals—and maybe that has to do with this idea of navigating history. I think of the works as having this dormant illness that can really latch on to different histories. So they can exist in a world pretending to be neatly encapsulated, already framed, and fixed. But actually they are these parasites dependent on the failure of modernist history and on multiplicity. I think there’s a general confusion that my work is about types of photography. But really that’s just a tool to introduce some questions I have about seeing. What happens when all of these conditions and structures and histories and cultures and tools you have around you begin to fail? On the one hand there is an engagement with histories and cultures, and on the other, there is this very lonesome space of actually coming to terms with seeing.”
–Elad Lassry in an interview with fellow artist Ryan Trecartin that appears in the September issue of Interview. An exhibition of Lassry’s work is on view through October 20 at The Kitchen in New York. Performances begin tomorrow evening.