Lydia Goldblatt considers themes of origins, transience and emotional experience through a lyrical harnessing of photography’s primary characteristics of light, time and surface. Her quietly powerful and beautifully crafted prints creatively fuse the approaches of both documentary and constructed photography. Tenderly observed portraits and details of the human form are combined with enigmatic still lifes and abstract constructions suggestive of elemental forces. Together, the images examine the impulse for existence paralleled with the act of artistic creation. While complete in themselves, each photograph can be understood as part of a larger whole: an absorbing puzzle reflecting upon the capacity of photography as poetic expression and simultaneously exploring emblems of the cycle of life.
Lydia’s new work for the commission is driven by her need to explore and respond to the fundamental themes of intimacy and distance that have been brought to the fore through lockdown and Covid 19. We are navigating our lives in different ways impelled by an invisible threat and photography has always held at its heart the paradoxes of seen and unseen, intimacy and distance, presence and absence, with which we find ourselves currently grappling. Lydia considers these themes through much of her previous work, harnessing photography’s primary characteristics of light, time and surface to explore questions of origins, existence, transience and emotional experience. During lockdown and following she has reflected on these paradoxes, drawing on family, dwelling and cosmos to explore questions of mothering, community, love, loss and time. The work is made in the family home, the community of nearby streets and shot on film.
Goldblatt’s series Still Here was published as an artist monograph by Hatje Cantz, and is held in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum National Art Library. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Felix Nussbaum Museum, Germany, Somerset House, London, the GoEun Museum of Photography, South Korea and the National Museum, Gdansk. She was awarded the Grand Prix at 2014’s Tokyo International Photography Festival, and in 2016 undertook a year’s artist residency at the Florence Trust in London, where she developed her series Instar.
Image Credit: Bell from the series Instar. Lydia Goldblatt