So long as they are wild

Duration: May 17—July 7, 2018

Venue: 407 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Hong Kong


Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong presents “So long as they are wild,” the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong for the American fine-art photographer Catherine Opie.

For the exhibit, on view May 17-July 7, Opie’s large-scale landscape photos in Yosemite National Park — some of them blurry, others composed in unconventional ways — are accompanied by a series of ceramic sculptures of tree stumps.

“Opie has spent a great deal of time visiting wildernesses across the United States, and chose specifically to focus on Yosemite for this series due to the strong history and connection to the iconic photographer Ansel Adams, who is regarded as an authority on depictions of wild spaces,” the gallery says. “Opie’s photographs push the boundaries of Adams’ well-known vistas through complex compositions that present the imagery practically beyond recognition, or allow for plainly naturalistic renderings.”

Through her photography, Opie documents the connections between the individual and the space he or she inhabits.

“Opie’s decision to create photographs within the classical genre of landscape, a field historically dominated by a certain rugged male persona, allows her to destabilize conventional narratives surrounding the American wilderness, revealing it to be as susceptible to the ravages of time and intervention as our own bodies,” the gallery says.

The ceramic sculptures on show, Opie’s first, are a series of three tree stumps. This series, like her photos, also relate to and comment on nature. “Sculpted from clay extracted from the earth, each work is formed by directly imprinting the soft clay on tree bark,” the gallery says. “They are then glazed and fired in a kiln. Opie likens the process and result of firing the works to the role fire plays in nature as both a destructive and regenerative force. When grouped together and surrounded by the Yosemite photographs, the diminutive and misshapen sculptures seem to represent the aftermath of some catastrophic event.”

Selelcted Works:

All photos ©Catherine Opie