Zelda Zinn


This work is an outgrowth of my earlier “Natural Selection” series, and a further attempt to investigate the contours and resonances of very basic materials. In this case, I used studio backdrop paper, material that is normally treated as minimally important and at best meant to be invisible. The backdrop paper is crushed, and worked until it hints at rock formations or dunes, giving a geological density to a two-dimensional form. Using blue, along with black, I paint on the random folds and bends, subsequently positioning and repositioning the sculpture until it takes on a life of its own. Finally, I photograph the resulting sculptural object, turning it back into a two-dimensional image, before it is destroyed.


For this series I was influenced by the work of the Gutai Group, and their destruction and alteration of canvases—but unlike them, my work consists not in the altered backdrop paper itself, but only in the photographic record of it. Printed on matte paper, the images do not immediately announce themselves as photographs. Appearing at first blush as perhaps abstract paintings, the relationship between sculptural object and photograph is subtly effaced. Instead, we are left with a record of an event that doesn’t look the part. As such, it questions the role of photography as documentation, as well as its innate indexical properties.