Laurie Simmons: Study for Long House (Bedroom with Mirror), 2004
Photo: courtesy Goetz Collection
Works in the Exhibition
The Long House (Downstairs Kitchen), 2004, c-print
Study for Long House (Bedroom with Mirror), 2004, c-print
Untitled: Band, 1994, c-print
Lying Gun (Color), 1990/2005, c-print
Walking Cake II (Color), 1989, c-print
The Music of Regret, 2006, single-channel video projection (color, sound), 40'
Pink House, 1998, c-print
Jan Seewald: You started to photograph dolls 30 years ago in 1976. Your Untitled/Woman's Head, 1976, is a good example. Can you tell me why you find dolls and puppets so fascinating?
Laurie Simmons: I first (reluctantly) introduced dolls in a series of pictures that I call The Early Doll House Interiors, 1976-1978. I started making these pictures after moving to NYC and seeing the way conceptual artists used cameras in a more casual and unselfconscious way to document and record spontaneous acts of art-making. (Artists like Robert Smithson, Mel Bochner and Barry Leva).(1) I'd set up empty interior spaces - miniature rooms and furnishings and light them with direct sunlight or harsh, (high-contrast) contrasty theater lights. I truly felt that they could be mistaken for real places and in this sense became enamored of the camera's ability to tell lies rather than portray the truth. Whenever I found or bought old dollhouses, they often came with dolls that I found uninteresting and threw aside. One day I decided to place a doll that I chose inside one of the rooms. After looking at the first test shots I suddenly found myself more interested in the dolls than the empty spaces. Since then I guess I've been a bit like a dog with a bone in terms of my subject. No matter where I go with my work I always come back to 'woman in interior' and it's generally some kind of doll figure.
(1) Robert Smithson (1938–1973), American artist famous for his land art; Mel Bochner (born 1940), American conceptual artist; Barry Leva (born 1940), American sculptor.
Text excerpt »The camera lies; or, why I always wanted to make a film« - A Conversation via E-mail with Laurie Simmons, August 2006 (Author: Jan Seewald), Exhibition Catalogue Imagination Becomes Reality Part V_Fantasy and Fiction