WORKING TITLE | SOPHIE THUN
Working Title (2022) is a large-scale print which attends the exhibition space in a decisive way, completely changing the perception of the gallery: a mirror and a veil, an optical illusion and a representation of reality is what becomes the image created by Sophie Thun. It occupies the space extending from the ceiling to the floor and unfurling like a curtain, so that its two-dimensional nature rediscovers a new interaction with place and representation.
The photography subject is the interior of the room itself in which it was after installed, thus showing the point of view of the artist who, in a veiled and subtle way, portrays herself in the image as a silhouette reflected in the window, and at the same time generating an impasse in which the observer becomes disoriented: “What am I observing? Am I in front of a mirror or an empty frame?”. Working Title, by characterizing itself as stage photography, can be defined as a trompe l’oeil in which the reflection, the representation, the document and the fiction come together in a magical image. The beams of the ceiling, the door to the other room and the floor are represented on a 1:1 scale making difficult for reality and its image to be defined. With this intervention Sophie Thun returns a photography work that is first of all mental and theoretical: her process is defined as metaphotographic and the language of the image is deeply investigated.
The presence on the image itself of the film black frame is the clue that allows us to discover this illusionistic game: by using a large format camera the printed analog image betrays itself, showing its true nature and its DNA. But it is precisely thanks to this revelation that the critical discourse on the image and its representation can be carried forward. The reproduction of the gallery offices allowed Sophie Thun to play with the multiplication of reality through herself image. Photography becomes a window that allows the limits of human and technological gaze to be questioned: what defines reality? What its image? Where do these two natures meet?
So the artist’s practice is configured in the superimposition of different levels in order to investigate the complexity of the production and use of an image. This analytical work is already declared by Sophie Thun in the title: Working Title is itself a meta-title that demonstrates how the artist focuses her attention not on what is represented but on the methodologies that converge in the process of representation and presentation. The image is a magical box, as much as the reality in which we live and Sophie Thun takes us by the hand inside these walls which no longer have borders but which are defined in their multiplication.
Working Title, 2022
Installation view at Madragoa. Courtesy of the artist and Madragoa, Lisbon. © Photographic credits: Bruno Lopes.