French-born, New York-based Babette Mangolte is one of the most significant photographers and cinematographers of her generation, and a chronicler of visual art, performance, dance, and theatre from the 1970s to the present day.
Every aspect of How to Look…, down to the layout of the room and its lighting, is designed to highlight different ways of perceiving images. It features a wall-sized grid of black-and-white photographs, depicting a variety of subjects including studio portraits, details of buildings and more informal snapshots. However, a railing prevents viewers from looking closely at the prints, forcing their gaze to consider their general arrangement before focusing on individual frames.
Variations in distance and scale are emphasised by smaller versions of some photographs which have been printed as playing cards and laid out on a long table. In the original version of the work, viewers were encouraged to rearrange the cards and use them to play games, introducing a further level of interaction. In 2010, Mangolte added a black-and-white film to the installation, including footage of people handling the cards and documenting the de-installation of the original work in 1978. Finally, a long text written by the artist gives a detailed history of the work and explains its current form.
Curated by Valentina Ravaglia