Visual, Aural, and Temporal Traces in Lorna Simpson’s Phototexts and Installations

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Drawing on visual and linguistic theories, this article examines the interplay of time and trace in contemporary artist Lorna Simpson’s handling of the portrait genre in her phototexts and video installations. I examine first the concept of trace in relation to the photographic medium and to the artist’s conceptual approach and study the way text and image interact in a contrapuntal and often dissonant way. Then I focus on two video installations to highlight the fragmentary, repetitive, and elliptical quality of Simpson’s multimedia practices and to put forward the fluctuating status of the concept of trace understood as transient, unstable, and indeterminate.


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