By Haley Weiss Published November 1, The filmic works of artist Moyra Davey hold the intimacy of a letter—inviting one in, as though offering a personal encounter—while maintaining a scripted distance. But her sharing is measured.
In the following conversation, loosely structured as a play, the artist speaks with Matthew S. Witkovsky, curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, about her practice of interlacing photography with literary touchstones, the Norwegian literary phenomenon Karl Ove Knausgaard, with whom Davey shares an affinity for the quotidian, and her work as a writer, which ranges from reflections on photography to personal essays.
Stately multistory buildings, sloping streets, longtime tenants. Furniture has a spartan or improvised quality which is it?
In the kitchen at rear, a lovingly restored midcentury stove with a griddle and four small ovens sits in an elongated space that evokes rusticity. None of her own photographs, but of course plenty of what appears in them, such as shelves of records topped by old stereo equipment.
While it is true that artists in every domain make books, there is a long history of the photobook in particular as a main form of expression, rather than a side project or a record of other works of art.
As a photographer, did you come to writing through an interest in making books? What was your first book of writings? Long Life Cool White But what got me hooked on writing as part of my working method was editing Mother Reader I spent a couple of years reading all those texts, shaping the book, and then wrote an introduction.
After that, reading and writing became so much more central to what I do. Were you not reading as much before putting that book together? I was reading while studying for my MFA, so, targeted theoretical stuff, and then in the Whitney program, also targeted reading.
After that I stopped that kind of reading and started to read literature. I stopped reading literature, which had given me all my ideas, once I was through with my undergraduate major in literary theory and had shifted fully into art history.
The malformation of the art historian, no doubt: You have to imagine that the guy has a photographic memory. Is it the sort of thing where he tries to keep an impersonal voice, so that meaning comes out of an endless accumulation of facts?
MOYRA DAVEYThe new book, called Les Goddesses Hemlock Forest, So there is a lot of play on “letter” both as graphic symbol and epistolary missive. I’ve said this before, but the epistolary is one of HOT BATHS / COOL LETTERS Q. LATIMER Les Goddesses, . Jan 12, · “A work, once finished, is ‘like a tombstone,’ ” Moyra Davey writes in her latest book, Les Goddesses/Hemlock attheheels.com aware of the inevitable end, she has constructed a practice conscious of its own past and reliant on radical self-doubt. The artistic work of photographer, filmmaker and author Moyra Davey combines images and language, photography and writing, seeing and reading. Across these fields, Davey engages equally with the work of other cultural figures and intellectuals as she does with her personal surroundings.
Although he does express a lot of emotion, a lot of grief. I want to think more about how he does it, because it interests me. I am, yeah, slowly.
Always thought of myself as a bad student. If Eileen Myles were teaching a poetry class, though, I would jump on that. I know she has done that, back in the day. Getting back to structure: To read any piece of writing or see a movie that does the full circle thing is very satisfying—the closure, the return—but for some perverse, stubborn reason, I avoid it.
And yet your video Les Goddesses is beautiful, like a nineteenth-century novel. Expansive yet incredibly tightly composed.The filmic works of artist Moyra Davey hold the intimacy of a letter—inviting one in, as though offering a personal encounter—while maintaining a scripted distance.
Moyra Davey (born ) is a Canadian visual artist. Over the past three decades, Davey has built an increasingly influential body of work composed of photographs, writings, and video. Over the past three decades, Davey has built an increasingly influential body of . The interior shift of photographer Moyra Davey.
The interior shift of photographer Moyra Davey. James Adams. If you would like to write a letter to the editor. Moyra Davey It’s a line that I came across when reading Hermione Lee.
She was writing about writers at the ends of their lives, and the whole dilemma concerning private papers. A sense of being on set, even, for viewers of Moyra Davey’s Les Goddesses, particularly strong when one sees in the back bedroom two bikes and a low mattress, on which Davey leafed through her early photographs in that book-length video.
Quinn Latimer on Moyra Davey’s films, photographs and writing.