Photographer, designer, and installation artist Barbara Bloom (born 1951) has built her career out of questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions, and commenting on the act of collecting.
A framed Iris print of a leather-gloved hand opening a wall safe (a still from Hitchcock's Marnie). The frame is hung on a hinge and swings open to reveal an (actual) empty safe set into the wall behind. Here, a mediated image gives way to reality, which gives way to gaping vacancy.
Each work is composed of a piece of Japanese ceramic ware that was repaired with gold lacquer, an X-ray of that object, a found photograph of a performing acrobat in a frame with shattered glazing, and a beautiful Japanese-style paper container for the ceramic piece. What the wall label does not explain is that Bloom created the series after falling out of a window and breaking many bones. In the overly busy context of the show, that poignant, personal dimension is lost.
'Corner: Confessional' (1986)
Photographs C-print with two-tone matte
Bloom revisits previous installations and adds new elements, resisting the delineation between past and present in her work. She often integrates her photographs with furniture to create compelling scenes, as with the installation Greed (1988) from the ICP collection, comprised of a chair, an empty frame, and her own photograph of a museum gallery showing a guard in a chair.