Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
September 10 to December 6, 2015
Put a camera on a tripod in front of a static subject. Take a shot. Then switch the system to video mode and record a short sequence in high definition. In terms of perception, the results are almost identical. In ontological terms, they explicitly show two conflicting ways of representing temporality. In the still photograph, a fragment of the subject’s life has been captured, corresponding to the length of the exposure (the time the shutter has been left open). In the video, time is presented in a continuous fashion. The photograph is a slice in time, the video an unfolding sequence.
As various emblematic exhibitions have demonstrated (for instance, Passages de l’image, curated by Raymond Bellour, Catherine David, and Christine van Assche for the Centre Pompidou in 1990), digital technology dissolves the boundaries between the different categories of image. Owen Kydd touches a sensitive chord with his Durational Photographs (started in 2006) – photographs that lessen the gap between the static image and kinematic lapse. Only the inclusion of very slight movements reveals the videographic nature of the images, which, furthermore, have been edited to form a continuous loop, with no beginning or end, evoking the circularity attributed to time in so many cosmologies.
Durational Photographs constitutes a subtle hybridization between minimalist film – the degree zero of cinematographic writing – and animated photography, which employs the stop-motion effect or three-frame GIF animation. In addition, given that both temporality and death have been essential components in every attempt to develop a theory of photography, the still life (nature morte) has paradoxically been made alive again.
Owen Kydd was born in 1975 in Calgary; he lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of California, Los Angeles (2012), and has exhibited his works all over the world, in solo and group exhibitions, including at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas (2015), the Oakville Galleries (2015), the International Center of Photography in New York (2014), the FOAM Photography Museum Amsterdam (2014), the Galerie Xippas in Paris (2014), the Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver (2013), the Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York (2013), and the Daegu Photo Biennale (2012). He has received many prizes and grants, such as the Toby Devan Lewis Award in 2012 and the Elaine Krown Klein Fine Arts Fellowship in 2011. He was nominated for the AIMIA–AGO Photography Prize in 2014 and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Grant in 2013. He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver, and Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York.