The Arts Club is delighted to announce an exhibition of works spanning the career of internationally renowned American photographer Laurie Simmons, ahead of key museum exhibitions of her work at The Jewish Museum, New York, and at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) in 2015.
Best known for her distinctive photographs of meticulously staged realities using dolls, ventriloquist dummies, mannequins and people, Simmons creates images with intensely psychological subtexts. Disquieting and wilfully ambiguous, her work explores the loneliness and melancholy of modern living. While her diverse characters range from toy ballerinas to tiny cowboys, themes of gender and sexuality, domesticity and nostalgia return in series across her practice.
At The Arts Club, key moments have been selected from across Simmons’ career: from her photographs of constructed scenes in miniature dollhouses taken in the early 1970s, to recent work with a life-sized sex doll dressed as a geisha. In this latter series, called The Love Doll, it is not immediately evident that the doll is not a real person. After working with miniature dolls and sets for 25 years, this series marked an important new direction for Simmons, as she explains: ‘I realised that I could take this doll and put it into the landscape and suddenly I was on a scale with everything else…it was like the entire rest of the world got unlocked’.
Fusing the human with the nonhuman, Simmons will often bring together people with inanimate objects: as diverse as toys, cameras, cakes and guns. She has returned several times to her signature images of the ‘object-on-legs’; key examples of her highly acclaimed series Walking Objects are included in The Arts Club exhibition, alongside Walking Glove and Walking Camera (Little). Working around the same time as Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, Simmons recognised photography’s potential as a means to critique mass-media representations of women, and her work has become iconic in the history of photography.
The exhibition is curated by Pernilla Holmes and Amelie von Wedel of Wedel Art Advisory. Both the Arts Club and the curators warmly thank Laurie for her work and enthusiasm in creating this show.