Ian Talbot: Retrospective – Skin 02 : Figuring Jasper
Chapter VIII of the ongoing series Ian Talbot : Retrospective by British fine art photographer Ian Talbot.
© Ian Talbot
“Everyone is of course free to interpret the work in his own way. I think seeing a picture is one thing and interpreting it is another.” Jasper Jones
Skin is the literal boundary between the internal life of the body and the sensations of the outside world. Johns himself has noted that the boundary of a body is neither a part of the enclosed body nor a part of the surrounding atmosphere. There are also, of course, clear associations between the skin as a thin membrane stretched over the underlying flesh and the stretched canvas itself and Johns explored this analogy in some depth in the 1970s, although, strangely enough, mostly on paper and plastic, never canvas.
The image shown is actually 20 years old. I had only a print available so this is a straightforward scan with only slight editing applied plus some toning. It was originally shot with a different intent to that which is retroactively, as it were, applied to it here. I should also add that Johns used impressions of his own body. I trust and hope it is obvious that I have not followed that particular convention here…
In this image, instead of, as in Johns’s work, the surface of the skin being impressed on the surface of the substrate, the stretched muslin in this case forms a second skin enclosing the first which is pressed onto it from behind. Yet as all photographs are, the image is no more than “surface” only and so, in a sense, both “skins” reside on that same single surface, untouchable and inviolable.
Text & image © Ian Talbot
You can see the complete set at Ian Talbot’s website : Figuring Jasper
Bloody Finger :Fingering The Edge