Lichtenstein’s immersive photobook is a masterpiece of abstraction
Disposable plastic bags, in their masses, contribute to the climate crisis. In Miranda Lichenstein’s work, they accrue new significance: sculptural, intricate, and curious. The varied, abstract compositions that makeup her mysterious photobook Recorder all derive from one series: Welcome Water, for which Lichtenstein collaborated with the artist J. Stoner Blackwell, creating flatbed scans of his sculptures constructed from disposable carrier bags. The scans were cut out and stitched into a sculptural floor piece. But, Lichenstein, meditating upon issues of waste and consumption, transformed the detritus into new photographic forms.
Diagonals splice the canvas, swathes of colour stretch across pages, and black-and-white forms undulate. Three series divide the compositions: black-and-white compositionstitled Holes; layered cut-out shapes composing Grounds, and the surreal landscapes of Untitled. Visually, the book is arresting, but the concepts and processes, which produced the work are compelling unto themselves. In Recorder, Lichtenstein abstracts the plastic bag into anonymity and creates something unworldly and beautiful in the process.
Recorder by Miranda Lichtenstein, published by Loose Joints.
Hannah Abel-Hirsch joined British Journal of Photography in 2017, where she is currently Assistant Editor. Previously, she was an Editorial Assistant at Magnum Photos, and a Studio Assistant for Susan Meiselas and Mary Ellen Mark in New York. Before which, she completed a BA in History of Art at University College London. Her words have also appeared on Magnum Photos, 1000 Words, and in the Royal Academy of Arts magazine.