Elad Lassry

Christopher Bollen

"It's kind of the post-picture-generation approach," says Elad Lassry of his high-conceptualism-meets-stock photography technique. The 30-year-old artist, who is a native of Tel Aviv and moved to Los Angeles at 20, originally attended CalArts as a film student, but his theoretical bend led professors to suggest taking up a second major in the visual arts. "I'm fascinated by the collapse of histories," he explains. "And the confusion that results when there is something just slightly wrong in a photograph." Slightly wrong is very right in Lassryland. His photos shrewdly play with ideas about authorship and originality. Take, for example, Joanne and Trace, Well Kept (2007), his appropriation of a 1970 Life magazine "Prizewinning Pictures" cover featuring a woman holding a baby on a white sheet: Lassry silk-screens monochrome blocks over the text to turn the soft-focus nostalgia layout into a hard constructivist canvas. But it's in his own photographs of everything from wolves, flamingos, and falcons to pickles, flowers, and friends, mostly shot in his east Hollywood studio, where Lassry shows his knack for upending expected takes on still life and portraiture. At first his clean, direct shots look like generic commercial photography from the '70s and '80s. But the artist's use of blurs, double exposure, harsh colors often emphasized by loud matching frames—even strange arrangements or the unnerving matter-of-factness of the subject-instantly makes the hackneyed formula appear new and formalistically riveting. It's as if Lassry isn't offering new images to a world already drowning in them—he's bringing old ones back to give them a second act. -Christopher Bollen

 

 

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December 2014

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