For 30 years, the photographic work of Lynne Cohen has developed in a radical way through images of spaces of quasi-fictional appearance, where human presence is made manifest by its absence.
Rather, human presence is implied by our recognition of common objects and, above all, because it is known that all those spaces exist and are in use.
These interiors are not a figment of the artist's imagination ; they are found places.
The work of Lynne Cohen voluntarily plays within the ambiguity between ready-made and installation, between the found place and the set-up.
After her first works of a very kitsch aesthetics, and since the 1980's, Lynne Cohen orchestrates a typology of place which has become emblematic of her work : class rooms, work places, leisure spaces, rooms for military training, police schools, spas, laboratories, libraries - places to which we usually give little attention to. By isolating those places and by setting these spaces within her photographic negative, Lynne Cohen reconfigures that familiar terrain to transform it into a work of art; thus, the known terrain becomes strange to us, indeed alien.
In 1998 Lynne Cohen that had always resisted the use of colour, decides to use it in order to put in evidence its synthetic and chemical nature, as well as the properties that render it more unnatural such as plywood, aluminium, or polystyrene.
Lynne Cohen's training as a sculptor is evident in the monumental quality of the objects and the places that she chooses and in the precise rendition of the textures of materials.
She underlines this sculptural dimension by exhibiting her prints framed in Formica, which reinforces the object quality of the images.
LYNNE COHEN, BY ANDREA BLUM
"I first saw the photographs of Lynne Cohen in Paris at Galerie des Archives several years ago. The work put me in a world somewhere between Stanley Kubrick and Ansel Adams and I must admit I was freezing! It is difficult to say whether it is the stark quality of the images, the confusion of realities, or fear of uncomfortable places which gives the work its resonance, but I keep coming back to it as a reference on a multiple of levels.
The work is staged as object and subject. It is classical in form yet baroque in detail. It provides information about "us" but we are absent from view. It is literary yet converts to cinema. It is a document of some sci-fi 60?s film but it represents our lives in the late '90's. It is a representation of who we are where we are and how we live and it is extremely shocking! The work causes the viewer to travel with it be it to the gymnasium, the club house, the waiting room. The more you see the less credible it becomes.
It is for these reasons that I think Lynne Cohen deserves support. Her images take the form of questions and it is through this that she lets you into another world."
"There are a few truisms about Lynne I feel I must mention.
Lynne loved the uncanny. Her work turned fiction into fact and fact into fiction,
and showed us how insane the world was
She was irreverent, but not mean
She was smart.
She was a true lefty, with a tendency to rage against the stupidity of those in power
She didn?t mind living in Canada but remained unhappy that the Canadian dollar was not worth that of the US.
She loved Montreal so she could speak French
She secretly believed she was French
She always had several thoughts running concurrently never fully finishing a sentence.
She turned words into sounds & sounds into words
She wished blueberry muffins had no calories
She was an exercise maniac
She enjoyed life
She was generous
She adored Andrew
And it is without question that she was a wonderful friend to us all."