UNCANNY by Janet Biggs @Collectionair
UNCANNY: troublesome, strange, mysterious, “unheimlich” – yet beautiful. “Uncanny” perfectly fits Janet Biggs’ work that often includes stories, films and images of individuals and groups living in extreme landscapes and situations. Biggs explores the duality of these situations – a complex intertwining of freedom and constraint, excellence and frailty, strength and solitude, the complexity of humanity. With this background, Biggs creates images that tell us about remote, often ignored worlds such as In the Caldera and Fade to White, and leads us on explorations of unknown crystal mines, neuroscience laboratories, and of the individuals who populate these worlds. To make a mark, “to shoot” in this world as in Arctic Bang: while Janet Biggs admires the infinite possibilities of nature, she is aware that our human actions, willingly or not, disrupt nature’s harmony. The reference to Niki de Saint Phalle’s shootings is strong here (so strong that there is even some physical resemblance between the two artists) and goes beyond formal aspects to a position in the world: revolution is on the march.
The uncanny in Biggs’ work also stems from another duality: being an ”engaged” artist, engaged in freedom, ecology, and gender neutrality, both revolted by the lack thereof and fascinated by the beauty of the world as it is. As an “engaged” artist, she records the beauty of a world she criticizes with such acuity that she even wants to “shoot it” – though admitting beforehand that such an action has no effect other than adding to the world the beauty of her images. Despair and action are a signature of the artist’s position: the despair is existential, the action artistic. Janet Biggs’ art acts on the viewers to subjugate them – and lead them to new possibilities, questions, and desires.
Janet Biggs is one of a number of outstanding contemporary American video artists. She is also a performer and a photographer.
UNCANNY is her first solo photography exhibition.
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