Posing I - II - III - IV 1985
12 gelatin silver prints on silver and gold metallic paper
7 prints 101.5 x 101.5 cm; 5 prints 101.5 x 132.0 cm
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa
The work focuses on the representation of innocence at a time
of global conflict. The contrast between the way America saw itself
and the political events of the day are underscored by the gestural
expressions of both male and female sitters. Other thematic considerations
in the work address cultural issues such as the complex signifying
aspect of the photograph - the layering of meanings imbedded in
the conventions of the pose, specifically gestural coding as an
indicator of gender typing and race relations.
|| - George Legrady, artist's statement, 1986
Posing series is made up of snapshots taken from two family photo albums
dating from the 1960s. One shows a G.I. serving in Vietnam, while the other presents
two sisters in a suburban environment. On the basis of these elements,
both rich in connotation, Legrady weaves a narrative, switching images in a filmic manner.
A parallel montage draws the scenes out of their original context in the family albums
and transforms the people in them into characters. By making large blow-ups of the snapshots,
Legrady inscribes them definitively within the public domain.
Personal memories become historical figures. Two worlds confront each other: the human face of war,
represented in a series of conventional poses mimicking heroism and candid male camaraderie;
and the world of two supremely gentle and submissive sisters, embodied in poses
reproducing female stereotypes from the period. The triptych arrangement and montage format
keep switching the two worlds, magnifying the contrasts between them. The passages correspond
to a visual rhythm that alternates between the silver and golden tones of the large gelatin silver prints.