Lauren Semivan Statement

Artist Statement
My relationship to photography is essentially a continuous questioning about the world and my own experiences. Artists, like physicists, are compelled to study forces running counter to the visible. As a child, Albert Einstein was inspired by a mystical experience with a compass needle. In Nadja, Andre Breton’s Surrealist romance, Breton describes a similarly intense emotional response to encounters with the unseen: “I am concerned with facts, which may belong to the order of pure observation, but which on each occasion present all the appearances of a signal…which convince me of my error in occasionally presuming I stand at the helm alone.” These images are the result of a similar continuous investigation into the invisible: an identification and interrogation of potential signals. My ongoing body of work has evolved through intense contemplative study and manipulation of a hand-built, sculptural environment. Within this constructed space, photographs transcend consensus reality, blurring boundaries between real and fictitious worlds. Compositions are painstakingly constructed and documented using the large-format camera, a tool for both precision and abstraction. Large format negatives are printed in silver gelatin, connecting the work directly to historical practice. Propelled by a desire to explore ideas of perception, the images often contain something of the everyday to ground them, juxtaposed with something extraordinary or out of the world to set them free from the realm of the everyday. I use my own body within the work to anchor the images within a personal place of dreams and human emotions. I consider photography to be both a tool for escape, and an instrument for self-knowledge: a door into the dark.

Process Statement
All images are made using an early 20th century 8x10" view camera. Contact prints are made in gelatin silver and selenium toned. 27x35" selenium toned silver gelatin prints are made by enlarging 8x10" negatives.

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