Michael Esminger


Michael Esminger

In novels, plays, and movies, the switch – one person assuming another’s identity – is a reliable comic turn. The photographic work assembled in Trading Places seems at first glance to be very playful. On closer examination, the critical edges begin to show.

In What’s Your Sign? Michael Ensminger’s black and white photographs are double impersonations. First, he plays all the stereotypes of the homeless male – the loner, the drifter, the outsider, the beggar, and the thief. Second, he plays himself, the stereotypical concerned photographer whose treatment of the homeless person is open to question.

The compelling characters encountered in Trading Places invite us to consider the social, racial, and psychological theatres of everyday life.

Michael Ensminger was born and raised in Germany and now resides in Denver, Colorado. His work consists of photographic tableaux, staged within his urban studio, as well as amid the city and surrounding landscape. Using elements of humour and pathos, Ensminger explores aspects of the collective psyche and social institutions that intrigue him. This investigation often involves elaborate portrayals, and Ensminger himself is often the transformed subject. He has exhibited from Denver to Tokyo. His work has been published in Photoworks magazine and reviewed in Art in America, Art Papers, and the New York Times.

Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts
372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, espace 507
Trading Places. Michael Ensminger, Rafael Goldchain, Noritoshi Hirakawa, and Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

September 8, 2005 – November 13, 2005
Monday to Thursday 9:00am-9:00pm, Friday 9:00am-4:00pm, Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm.
Closing at 2:00pm October 3, 12, 17 & 24, 2005. The gallery will be closed October 4-5, 13, 18-19 & 25-26, 2005.
Opening Thursday September 8, 2005 from 5:00-8:30pm, Rafael Goldchain will be present

Michael Ensminger, "I lost 35 lbs. Ask me how" (2001), from the series What’s Your Sign? Courtesy of the artist