In Focus

Evidence 1977 by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel

Andrew Witt

Drawing together the history of California, science fiction, technological experimentation and catastrophe, this In Focus examines how Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s Evidence complicates the conventions and assumptions of photographic truth.

Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, Untitled 1977, printed 2001, from the photobook Evidence 1977

Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel
Untitled 1977, printed 2001, from the photobook Evidence 1977
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Support: 203 x 253 mm
Tate P14485

© Larry Sultan/Mike Mandel

Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s influential photobook Evidence 1977 is a sequence of fifty-nine uncaptioned images sourced from the archives of major American technological and research institutions. Pairings of photographs on facing pages form an obscure narrative that questions the truth value of visual information and documentary evidence.

Many scholars and critics have regarded Evidence as a disjointed archive of images whose very subject is its own meaninglessness. This In Focus proposes a counter-archival model in which the images’ sequential form is seen to offer connections and analogies between them, thus allowing for interpretation – however unstable.

Published in July 2017, the project is authored by Andrew Witt (University College London) and includes an interview with the artist Mike Mandel.

This In Focus project was made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

ISBN 978-1-84976-555-8