| Still Lifes, 1977-1981
Hand tinted gelatin silver prints, 30" x 36"
"My artistic work during the past ten years has dealt with the
discrepancy between the photograph as a record of transmitted light
and the assigned cultural meanings that it conveys. Projects and exhibitions
have considered aspects of photography's problematic nature and syntax:
the representation of time and space, the effect of text as a connotative
device, and the impact of industrial/commercial pictorial references.
From a cultural perspective, some of the work has dealt with the exposition
of submerged social and historical structures in visual conventions,
and the cultural conditioning that dictate the photographer's decisions
and the viewer's responses."
Still Lifes belongs to a group of works that include, among others,
Everyday Stories, Image/Text Series, Theoretical Studies, and Object
Narratives. These explore, within the framework of the studio, the
system of objects and its syntax. Legrady composes his tableaux
by combining objects taken from daily life with drawings, words,
and constructions made from corrugated cardboard, tin foil, or plywood.
The stagings are made up of a few essential motifs located within
a context almost empty of language, in which an economy of means
condenses the scene into a few basic symbols while expanding the
impact of the image tenfold. Thus, televised warfare is signified
by a rough cut-out of a tank and the image of a crushed human figure
framed by the borders of a television screen. By deploying a range
of routine situations and conventional symbols, Legrady casts an
ironic gaze on the social consensus that regulates discourse and
hardens images into stereotypes.
Throughout the various work cycles that have occupied him since
the mid-1980s, Legrady has used photography to expose the strategies
by which objects constitute an internal system of relationships
that opens onto language. In the same way that objects are continually
thrown out, and distributed in a multitude of contexts, images are
caught up in an uninterrupted whirl that places and displaces them
endlessly. The cycle of found objects is succeeded by that of borrowed
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography