PHIL COLLINS

September 28, 2003 - November 2003
maccarone inc

ordinary people in extraordinary intense situations

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Collins has gained international recognition for his frank and honest inquiry into social and political conflicts erupting around the world today. Often examining the human consequences of these events, Collins directly interacts with individuals and the situations that constitute his subject matter.

For Collins, his artistic practice is in some ways incidental, a mechanism that, on the most basic level, allows him to make relationships with others. He sees all photography as, at its core, sheer exploitation and a curious bind of consolation or love. The exhibition at Maccarone Inc. will feature photographs that were taken in Palestine, Belfast, New York, Belgrade, and around England where in the last seven months Collins has been looking at the conditions of asylum seekers. At once beautiful, personal and contentious, his portraits of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances pay testimony to the delicate and intimate exchanges the camera affords him.

Persistently questioning pre-established notions of photography proper, in the new body of work Collins highlights his emotional response to the discarded or unreliable, and also tackles the issues of the work's formal and technical correctness. In Sunnyside, he blows up an overexposed Polaroid of his partner in bed. In Mici's Last Night, he plays on the limits of (in)visibility in an almost black portrait taken the night before a friend's conscription, and in Britney, turns photographed photographs (shots of a defaced Britney Spears taken in the New York subway) into glorious, monumental-sized objects that ambiguously evoke both pseudo-religious exaltation and playful blasphemy.

In real society, a public art project where individuals, couples and groups were offered the opportunity to strip for his camera in the best suite of a luxury hotel in San Sebastian, Collins records each tender and sometimes awkward encounter with the compassion of the voyeur and the fascination of the confessor.

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