Contemporary art often has a reflective quality, but this tendency comes right to the fore in Mirrored, a photo series by British duo Maslen & Mehra. For this series, the team (otherwise known as Tim Maslen & Jennifer Mehra) places human-shaped mirrored sculptures in spectacular landscapes before snapping a picture. Last week, just before their first-ever Canadian solo show was about to open as part of Toronto's Contact Photography Festival, the artists chatted with me about their practice. A condensed version of this Q&A is out in today's National Post. Some excerpts:
Q How did your Mirrored series begin?
Jennifer Mehra: We did a residency at the Eden Project in Cornwall, where giant biomes inform people about how we're related to nature. We wanted to play with little interventions in the biomes, but not actually leave anything permanently in there. So we were making mirrored sculptures and photographing them and taking them away. Then we thought, well, we're going to this location next, let's take these sculptures with us.
Q What are the sculptures based on?
Jennifer Mehra: A lot are based on anonymous pictures that we've taken of people in cities. But others are appropriated. The one in Hot Stream, Waimangu, New Zealand, is from an Issey Miyake catwalk....
Q Both of you spent a lot of time in Australia. Is there anything particularly Australian about your art?
Tim Maslen: I would say an awareness of landscape. I grew up in Australia and I always felt even though you're in the city, you hop in the car and drive for two hours and you're literally in the middle of nowhere: vast space, vast sky, vast landscapes. To then take that experience of growing up and be living in a metropolis like London or Berlin or New York ... personally I have this yearning to be back in nature but I don't like camping! Ha! So there's always this dichotomy that's going on. That's interesting and I think a lot of people feel that in the lives they lead.
It's also worth noting that as part of Contact's new cross-Canada programming, Maslen & Mehra also have a billboard at the Halifax Ferry Terminal to June 4. Their exhibition at Toronto's General Hardware Contemporary also runs until that same date.
Interestingly, the duo told me their next foray will be more into sculpture and museological conventions—reproducing or riffing on displays of busts from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
(Image: Maslen & Mehra's Hell's Gate Death Valley 2005 Courtesy the artists and General Hardware Contemporary)
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Posted by Leah Sandals at 10:53 AM