Altered States (2012)
       
     
  Untitled #15 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Untitled #11 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Collisions , 2012, poliptych of 9 c-prints, 20x20" each
       
     
  Untitled #20 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Untitled #1 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print     
  
 
  
    
  
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     For a series of large-scale images of distorted human figures, the artist directed a professional dancer to perform underwater in a swimming pool, testing the body’s resistance in an unfamiliar element and under challenging conditions, thus evoking man’s struggle with nature and the uncertainty of the human experience. Performative aspects have long been part of Laval’s work, as evidenced in her  Inferno    video and  Poolscapes    series, as well her early  Pool    series, where spontaneous scenes of bathers appear to be composed by a silent choreographer once isolated within the frame of her camera. Together with another set of small and intimate photographs of split reflections that harken back to early 20th century avant-garde photography, these images of bodies caught in a transient state raise questions of essence and identity.        
       
     
  Untitled #2 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Untitled #3 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Untitled #4 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     
  Untitled #23 (Echo)  , 2012, 12x12" pigment print
       
     
  Untitled #24 (Echo)  , 2012, 12x12" pigment print
       
     
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Altered States (2012)
       
     
Altered States (2012)

Untitled #14 (Collision), 2012, 48x48" c-print

The title of this body of work references different states of transformation such as physical transformation and distortion, altered states of consciousness and perception, mythological metamorphosis, but it also evinces the transformative power of the camera. Laval continues to explore the vagaries of subjective perception and challenges the way we see by combining performance and the mechanics of photography itself (light, perspective, chemistry and optics). She tests the limits of the photographic medium by using water as a distorting lens and choosing a stark color palette – the result of her signature chemical processing of the film – to generate images which oscillate between representation and abstraction and blur the boundary between photography and painting.

With the series Collisions, Laval continues her ongoing experiments with Mylar, begun in photographs, videos and a performance/video installation presented in 2012 at New York Center for Arts and Media Studies (NYCAM) for John Cage’s centennial. Laval utilized the reflective surface of the material for the distorting and shimmering qualities it shares with water, an element that has been central to her work. Here, the shiny surface of the Mylar becomes a kind of skin that mirrors the fluidity of the human flesh. Once plunged into water, the inanimate object starts to react to the pressure and chemicals and bend into distorted sculptural shapes as if by magic. The resulting compositions collide at an intersection between violence and sensuality, underlining their ambiguous nature for, like mirages, Laval’s images are shape-shifting and concentrated and ultimately defined by the interpretative faculties of the viewer.

  Untitled #15 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #15 (Collision), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Untitled #11 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #11 (Collision), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Collisions , 2012, poliptych of 9 c-prints, 20x20" each
       
     

Collisions, 2012, poliptych of 9 c-prints, 20x20" each

  Untitled #20 (Collision)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #20 (Collision), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Untitled #1 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print     
  
 
  
    
  
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     For a series of large-scale images of distorted human figures, the artist directed a professional dancer to perform underwater in a swimming pool, testing the body’s resistance in an unfamiliar element and under challenging conditions, thus evoking man’s struggle with nature and the uncertainty of the human experience. Performative aspects have long been part of Laval’s work, as evidenced in her  Inferno    video and  Poolscapes    series, as well her early  Pool    series, where spontaneous scenes of bathers appear to be composed by a silent choreographer once isolated within the frame of her camera. Together with another set of small and intimate photographs of split reflections that harken back to early 20th century avant-garde photography, these images of bodies caught in a transient state raise questions of essence and identity.        
       
     

Untitled #1 (Flux), 2012, 48x48" c-print

For a series of large-scale images of distorted human figures, the artist directed a professional dancer to perform underwater in a swimming pool, testing the body’s resistance in an unfamiliar element and under challenging conditions, thus evoking man’s struggle with nature and the uncertainty of the human experience. Performative aspects have long been part of Laval’s work, as evidenced in her Inferno video and Poolscapes series, as well her early Pool series, where spontaneous scenes of bathers appear to be composed by a silent choreographer once isolated within the frame of her camera. Together with another set of small and intimate photographs of split reflections that harken back to early 20th century avant-garde photography, these images of bodies caught in a transient state raise questions of essence and identity. 

 

 

  Untitled #2 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #2 (Flux), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Untitled #3 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #3 (Flux), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Untitled #4 (Flux)  , 2012, 48x48" c-print
       
     

Untitled #4 (Flux), 2012, 48x48" c-print

  Untitled #23 (Echo)  , 2012, 12x12" pigment print
       
     

Untitled #23 (Echo), 2012, 12x12" pigment print

  Untitled #24 (Echo)  , 2012, 12x12" pigment print
       
     

Untitled #24 (Echo), 2012, 12x12" pigment print

       
     
State of Flux (extract), 06:00, HD video, 2012

Video and original soundscape by Karine Laval

Featuring Tyler James Ashley

Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States

Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, April 18 - May 24, 2013

Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States

Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, April 18 - May 24, 2013

Karine Laval: Altered States
       
     
Karine Laval: Altered States

Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, April 18 - May 24, 2013