22 April – 25 June 2005
Galerie Lisa Ruyter is pleased to present „Full Death“, an exhibition of photographic works by Michael Huey, whose artistic practice is evolved from painting, genealogical studies, art historical research, and collecting photographs.
„ Artifacts are robust: on the one hand, they usually outlive us. On the other hand, they are fragile, and not just physically: they are open to manipulation and have no way of defending themselves (except, as I say, by outliving the manipulator and waiting around for the next, possibly fairer, interpreter). I have always been intensely passionate about justice (Gerechtigkeit), and I tend to want to apply it to the past, as well.“ -Michael Huey
Michael Huey re-photographs historical documents and, in particular, photographs from the second half of the nineteenth century. In looking at his own family, he identifies the 1860s and 70’s as the time period where the tangible and intangible become irresolvable. It is also one of many points in Huey’s work where nostalgia, fetish, and death become interchangeable stylistic flourishes. The identities of relatives and strangers become confused with the identities imposed by the decorative, scientific and stylistic processes of the image-making of different eras.
For Michael Huey, the highly reflective surface of the currently trendy Diasec technique calls to mind daguerreotypes and the wet-collodion photographic process of the era of his primary fixation, the middle and last decades of the 19th century. With diasec, a reflection is impossible to avoid, the viewer is included in the image through the same channels of distancing. Michael Huey’s other techniques include scale, meta-narrative implications, cropping and coincidence.
Michael Huey considers his appropriation to be related to the act of photography itself – related to the act of using a camera to „take“ a picture. By recovering nearly lost artifacts of moments in time, sometimes with identifiable origins in family members or 19th century photo studios, Michael Huey’s work begins to tackle the bigger subjects of personal history, authorship, ownership, inheritance, legacy, and justice.
This is Michael Huey’s first solo exhibition. He was born in 1964 in Traverse City, Michigan and has lived and worked in Vienna since 1989.