«We are the subject of our own work however much we try to deny it». Self-reflections in a fragment: a look into the archive of artist Katerina Jebb
Katerina Jebb’s archive
The works seen here were taken from my archives and comprised fragments that have little meaning to anyone else other than me. Most of the images are scans of objects, spaces, or surfaces; an apple fell on the grave of the painter Balthus in 2010, a worn-out carpet on the floor of a strange and obscure gallery in Paris, a piece of abandoned tulle thrown out of a window of a high-rise housing block on the outskirts of Paris in 2003. Forlorn amongst a mass of depressing matter, a disembodied witness to a crime scene or a broken love affair. Years later, when I placed it on the scanner, it curiously assumed a fetal position and thus offered itself as evidence of a memory of something that I won’t tell you about.
The artist as a subject of his own work
The child’s note written by my daughter in her seventh year consists of six lines of prose addressing the subject matter of profound urgency for the mind of a child entering into the age of reason. The first line reads: ‘this would mean that life is stronger than death’.
The woman suspended from the oak tree in the garden of the duke of Windsor is Betony Vernon, who posed naked in the cold and desolate landscape in the year 2005. I wanted to understand how it felt to be physically restrained and so I vicariously used her to mirror my own entrapment in a failing marriage. The mirrored sunglasses are by Fendi and are presented here as a functional object of contemporaneity in conflict with the other images, which are somewhat uninhabited and dysfunctional landscapes. Indirectly I am asking a question about this most vital subject matter ‘the mirror’ and more tellingly of my own reflection mirrored in its surface. We are the subject of our own work, however much we try to deny it.
Katerina Jebb photographer
Katerina Jebb was born in England in 1962. In 1984 she moved to California to study photography. Her first works were photomontages, which she created inside the camera, originating from repeated exposure of a single roll of film. In 1989 Jebb relocated to Paris to pursue her interest in experimental photography. There she employed photocopy machines to create life-size images, primarily self-portraits lying herself down on a high resolution scanning machine. Progressively, she diversified, posing subjects and objects, exploring the medium in parallel with the expanding possibilities in digital technology. Katerina Jebb’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Victoria & Albert Museum, Le Musée des Arts Decoratifs Paris, Musée Réattu Arles.