Known for her luminous photographs, some made with a camera and some without (and some made with a combination of the two), Justine Varga premieres a new body of work available to view online in the Tolarno Galleries Viewing Space until 9 May.
Tachisme ruptures any clear distinction between photography and painting. The negatives from which these photographs derive were smeared and stained with pigment during their long exposures. When these negatives are then printed from, at large-scale in the darkroom, the latent inscriptions are revealed to intermingle with the distinctive signature of the artist’s fingertips, a trace of touching that is generally forbidden in the production of photographs.
Justine Varga has always seen her photography in these terms, as a drawing with light, or more literally as a light-sensitive substrate on which she makes marks or allows the world to leave its own marks. These photographs are therefore the making visible of an art practice that is at once physical and chemical, autobiographical and contingent, painterly and photographic. In doing so, Tachisme asks viewers to reflect on the activity of decipherment in relation to photographs, making this exhibition a critical rumination on inscription, meaning and knowledge.
…an art that is abject and yet strangely alluring. Infectious in every sense of the word, once seen, Justine Varga’s photographs are stains that cannot be removed from the mind’s eye, and for that very reason powerfully embody the anxieties and uncertainties that pervade our present moment. – Andrés Mario Zervigón, Professor of the History of Photography at Rutgers University, USA.
Read more about Justine Varga in the Issue 49 Artist Profile cover story in 2019.
Image: Justine Varga Visage (2018-19). Chromogenic photograph, 146.2 x 111.5 cm (image size) / 161.2 x 122.5 cm (image including borders), edition of 5 + 2 AP