by Gerald Boerner
Sarah Pickering Exhibit at MoCP (NYC)…
To coincide with her Aperture monograph, British photographer Sarah Pickering is presenting an exhibit of her photographic "simulations" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is noted for her creative images that carry the "what if…" from the left brain into the right brain for visualization. If you happen to be in the New York City environs, catch this exhibit from April 9th to June 10th of this year.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography is proud to present a monographic exhibition featuring the work of British artist Sarah Pickering. While appearing to exist between reality and illusion, Pickering’s images are actually documents of simulation. The exhibition will present a total of 36 photographs from four recent series of Pickering’s work, spanning from 2002 to the present: Explosions, Fire Scene, Incident, and Public Order.
Sarah Pickering’s photographs disturb our sense of security and illuminate the ways in which we cope with traumatic events that are beyond our control. Her pictures depict environments and events crafted specifically for simulated training to prepare police officers, firefighters, and soldiers for calamities ranging from fire and civil unrest to terrorism and war. By exposing the absurdity and controlled nature of these environments, Pickering’s images reveal our predilection to deflect fear by trying to anticipate and plan for it—and our tendency to create a story to help us process it.
Ultimately Pickering’s photographs raise questions about the efficacy of preparedness and hint at the psychological effort needed to combat and recover from trauma—the struggle to live with the anxiety that can accompany security. Pickering’s Fire Scene pictures (2007), made at the British Fire Service College, document containers outfitted as home environments and set on fire to train forensic teams and crime scene investigators. The interiors are staged as elaborate, crammed domestic spaces, deliberately heavy with a narrative: each fire has been designed according to a specific cause, such as an electric heater malfunctioning, or a glue-sniffing escapade gone wrong. The fire investigators must decipher the origin. Pickering photographs just as the fire catches, and there is a captivating beauty in the blaze and a thrilling quality in the danger and implied rescue it represents. … [MORE]