Lisa Tomasetti Happy After Ever
This series continues Tomasetti’s interpretative response to the work of the Dutch Masters, through previous series Burnt Memory (2011), Unwritten Skin (2008), and Vanilla and Misfortune (2005). Now in Happy Ever After (2019) she enlists elements of landscape to further an investigation of notions of impermanence and turbulence caused by the impact of the digital, photography’s new realm. By placing the figure in inhospitable, timeless environments the work contemplates whether contemporary photography’s digital expression risks it’s legacy as lasting cultural artefact?
Within Happy Ever After her intention is to produce a series of photographs affirming the lasting power of the photographic image. In a current world where quantity seems the enemy of quality and the record history is at stake, this series asks whether the ubiquity of photography has threatened its authority as art, and at worst whether its practice remains a valid form of visual expression.
Surrealism has a long history in art and photography is not slow to follow. Whether employing a landscape backdrop or an overscaled still life of fruit behind a human figure (in this case a young woman embarking on life), the purpose is to disrupt ways of seeing, to lend a hyperreality to the image. The surprising narrative presented invites the viewer to complete their own narrative, to engage with life in the story and to awaken their intelligence and senses.
In these images Tomasetti collaborates with her daughter engaging in their lives both parallel and unique. The ideas are drawn from life and therefore speak truths that only photography and the image can articulate. As such they are essentially impressions of the real world, journeys that are repeated generation after generation.
This is where history comes in. Photography is capable of permanence both technically and emotionally as a form of record. These qualities will never leave photography as long as we value it as art.
Lisa Tomasetti 2019