press release

Chisenhale Gallery presents a new exhibition by Josephine Pryde, 'Embryos and Estate Agents: L'Art de Vivre.' Featuring an entirely new body of photographic work commissioned for Chisenhale Gallery, this will be Pryde's first solo presentation in a British gallery for six years.

The exhibition contains a set of colour Giclée prints and a set of photographic prints, all framed to the same width. One set depicts three teenage girls who were asked by Pryde to pose for the camera as if they thought they might be pregnant. The models are shot in a dead-pan style reminiscent of stock photography, picturing stereotypical expressions or narrative scenes for generic commercial use. The other series, entitled 'It's Not My Body', features photography of desert-like landscapes collaged with low resolution MRI scans of a human fetus and its mother. These photographs combine macro lens photography with contemporary medical imaging techniques and have been retouched using Photoshop.

Pryde's exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery takes part of its title from a previous exhibition, 'La Vie d'Artiste' (Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2009), which featured a series of studio portraits of a male toddler in various emotional states. Pryde often references the history of both commercial and fine art photography in her work and also the impact of technological advancements in imaging upon scientific discovery. Pryde's work is situated at the intersection between the representational strategies of science, commerce and art, with all of these fields treated as a common site of production. Her own role as an artist and the condition of art production at large is often problematised within Pryde's exhibitions, such as with last year's 'Therapie Thank You', followed by, 'Therapie Thank You Thank You' (Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York and MD72, Berlin), both of which pitched the art work as potentially emerging out of, and contributing to, a therapeutic process.

The work in 'Embryos and Estate Agents…' is informed by histories of experimentation and innovation in embryology but it is the medium of photography itself, however, that seems most under scrutiny. Issues around the reproduction of images, their political currency and intellectual value, as well as the potential impact of new imaging processes on debates around subjecthood and a woman's right to choose are recognisable within Pryde's conceptual application of photography. Here the status of what is—or is not—made visible within contemporary culture is a matter of framing; of creation and property relations.

Josephine Pryde (b. 1967, Alnwick, Northumberland) lives and works in London and Berlin, where she is Professor of Contemporary Photography at the University of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Therapie Thank You Thank You', MD72, Berlin and 'Therapie Thank You' at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York (both 2010); 'La Vie d'Artiste', Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles (2009); 'Valerie', Secession, Vienna and 'Brains & Chains', Cubitt, London (both 2004). Selected group exhibitions include 'The Avantgarde: Madame Realism,' Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht (2011); 'Old Ideas', Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2010) and 'Olga Chernysheva, R.H. Quaytman & Josephine Pryde', Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009).

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Josephine Pryde
Embryos and Estate Agents: L'Art de Vivre