In I Am Eyebeam, curated by Melanie Schiff and Lorelei Stewart, Gallery 400 presents an exhibition of fifteen artists, who explore the conditions of photography in the 21st century. Across a range of approaches—from figurative to textual, collage to process-based, textual to perceptual—these artists investigate the properties of the photographic and its current broad social implications. In these works, the artists challenge the basic conditions of photography, such as its flatness; its indexicality; the apparatus of camera, film or paper; and its relationship to time, memory, document, and reportage—particularly as they figure in early 21st century culture.
The particularity of this photographic specificity belies the works’ important address of human and representational limits. The reconfigured, reorganized, and destabilized perceptual and representational strategies of these works reveal the fissures present within our current modes of representing, experiencing, and conceiving of ourselves in the world.
What these artists do in this exhibition is re-address the conditions of photography that continue to affect our understandings of selfhood. With references to photographic precedents, such as early modern processes, the 1980s ‘Pictures’ generation, and conceptual uses of photography as documents, these artists re-work photographic and historical categories as they simultaneously address questions of spectatorship and self-conception. Of the fifteen artists, two are based in Chicago. For many, this show is the first exhibition of their work in Chicago.