Lot 110: Hollis Frampton

I. WHITE CLOVER (Melilotus alba)
Ektacolor photograph
20 x 16 inches
Edition 3/14
Signed verso
Courtesy of Will Faller
Fair Market Value

Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) is an avant-garde icon. He is recognized as a pioneering filmmaker, art theorist, photographer and writer. From 1973 through 1984, Frampton was on the Department of Media Study faculty at the University at Buffalo. In 2012, the Criterion Collection released a set of Frampton’s films. In 2015, CEPA Gallery, in partnership with Dean Brownrout Modern/Contemporary, reintroduced his photographic print work in the most comprehensive exhibition of his photographs in decades. Subsequent solo exhibitions of his photographs in New York City, and a recent multi-piece acquisition by the Whitney Museum of American Art have furthered his acclaim. Frampton’s works are held in many important collections including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Harvard University, Museum of Modern Art and the Walker Art Center.

Excerpt from Frampton’s original proposal for ADSVMVS ABSVMVS: “One general, public assumption about photographs is that the process of photographic representation amounts to a preservation or embalming process. The lost presence of the photographed thing, person, situation is invoked through a mummified echo, reduced to a husk of the light that once revealed it. The photographic likeness bears a distant, partial, decolorized or muted resemblance to its subject; at the same time, it has unique qualities of its own, which are entirely independent of what it depicts. Every photograph is potentially a keepsake, like a lock of hair, and a MEMENTO MORI. For some years I have been interested in this abstract process of preservation, and its symmetry with natural processes of mummification where the contour of the once living thing is recognizably retained. I have made a collection of such ‘autographic likenesses’ of animals. They range from Upstate New York road kills, flattened and sun-baked, to dried fish and squid in oriental food markets: a single general process and appearance, metaphorically reminiscent of the photographic image, covers a range from the blatantly morbid through the grotesque and sentimental to the edible. Like photographs, as well, they are remarkable objects in themselves.”

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