Matt Lipps: Figures

Curated by Kristen Chappa

Exhibition: March 3–May 2, 2015

Art in General is pleased to present Figures, a New Commission with Matt Lipps in the Storefront Project Space.

Matt Lipps’ artistic practice speaks to a sense of longing when confronted by most photographs—a longing for the lost object or moment abstracted by the camera, when corporeal and temporal experiences are flattened into static, silent images. His process involves re-shooting cut-out and staged images sourced from iconic publications such as Horizon magazine, the Time-Life series, and Ansel Adams coffee table books. Lipps creates anachronistic associations, recontextualizing analog black and white photography using collage tactics that reference contemporary digital imaging. His strategies of appropriation call attention to the practice of photography itself, embedding layers of reproduction within each print.

The relationship between photography and sculpture, and the limitations of each, is central to Lipps’ practice: how each promises what the other fails to provide. Photography can deliver an instantaneous, multi-view perspective, but it omits broader context and lacks true physicality in space. Sculpture offers this visceral experience, but resists a holistic view—requiring a body in motion, objects are continuously hidden and revealed as the surrounding landscape shifts with each step. Lipps’ photographic reproductions of sculpture heighten an awareness of this absence of location and the loss of one’s own body in relation to the figure-in-the-round.


Lipps’ photographs create complex spatial relationships not only between the collaged elements within each piece, but also in response to the conditions of exhibition. For Art in General’s storefront gallery, the artist has created an installation of three large-scale works, each collapsing and enlarging documentation of figurative sculptures from the canon of Art History. The glassed-in project space further flattens perspective while simultaneously revealing a sculptural presentation, reinforcing the tension between two and three dimensions. The works act as surrogates for performers in their content, size, and uprightness, and a theatrical curtain acts as a color field backdrop in each one, underscoring the display as a window proscenium. Critically examining photography from both fine art and mass media sources, Lipps reveals how these images have reflected and shaped our culture, and the ways in which the mass-distributed photograph can be invested with the deeply personal: a desire to locate these images within intimate settings.
All content Ⓒ Matt Lipps