Punctum by Arpi Agdere

"The body of work presented in this exhibition contains at its core an element that harkens back to a tradition at the origins of photography shared by William Henry Fox Talbot and Mathew Brady: the landscape.  While landscape suggests the concerns of pictorialism – that is to make a photograph look like a painting - Agdere’s work is reminiscent with the work of other contemporary photographers who are concentrating on what is called the “social landscape”. Her images contain distinct signs of a caustic, suburban civilization that seems to be encroaching on the Southern California landscape that Agdere calls home.  Two elements are at work in these pictures, first Agdere is a studio artist who uses photography and not a photographer per-se and the second is psychedelics.


The black hole that figures prominently in the images owes its origin to early 20th century when photographic negatives were often destroyed by punching a hole through them with a paper puncher and then carefully archived.  This strange act was performed on thousands of negatives from the Farm Security Administration that were deemed unfit or not usable by administrators, such as Roy Stryker who supervised the Information Division. Agdere deploys the same “negation” but now treated as a sign – in effect working in counterpoint with the psychedelic colors to create a polyphonic orchestration of signs and images that beautifully take us into the “punctum,” that is the title of the exhibition. Agdere’s landscape is punctuated with the horror of place and the nostalgia for another.  The escape velocity for Agdere seems to be located on the same planet whose landscape is strangely mundane and alien, full of things familiar and strange, and full of wonder and wound."

Our role in this project included curation, exhibition design and fabrication, installation and event production. Executed for Haphazard.