Ellen Brooks


Category: Photography

Adolescence 1975-1995


Twenty years ago, I produced a photographic installation of male and female adolescent nudes printed one and one half times life-size on photo linen. The piece was sculptural, direct, and capable of eliciting equal responses of self-consciousness and physical anxiety which are also experienced by teenagers at this particular time of bodily transformation and sexual awareness. Addressing issues of privacy, my intent was to forge a compassionate and respectful bond with the viewer, diverting attention from the youthful personalities involved, toward a deeper consideration of our common physicality and transitory nature, and the loss of control we must all undergo as our bodies proceed through the stages of existence.


The later wall piece (1975-1995) is a reconfiguration of the earlier installation. I view this work as a continuation, possessing a strong historical context. The large wall piece is a computerized representation using photographs from the original piece. Facial features have been exchanged from person to person, thus producing invented identities. The faces have no authentic connection to their bodies. Gender becomes free floating and non specific. Although the nude bodies are evidence of a particular gender, they are strangely divorced from their original identities. To the degree that they are estranged from their original identities they are familial to each other. They have entered a constructed realm that ensures their privacy as adults.


-1995

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