Each work on display in “Doubleworld,” the first major Sarah Charlesworth (1947-2013) retrospective since the 1990s, is an elegant subterfuge of photography. Often, the visual narratives need no text to be understood. To create the haunting “Stills” series (1980), for example, Charlesworth re-photographed newspaper shots of plummeting figures in midair. Similarly, the lushly saturated series “Objects of Desire” (1983-88) isolates and reduces images from ancient art history to contemporary newsstand magazines to create minimalist, collage-like photographs. The underlying idea behind all of these works is that pictures have the power to speak for themselves. And in freeing these images from their original contexts, Charlesworth challenges the viewer to explore the alternative implications they conjure.
Pictured: Sarah Charlesworth: Doubleworld, 1995, cibachrome print with mahogany frame, 51 by 41 inches. Courtesy Estate of Sarah Charlesworth and Maccarone Gallery, New York.