Stories: Philip-Lorca diCorcia & Constance DeJong
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco
Feb. 16-May 5, 2018
Blue Meteor, 2015-16
Re-engineered radio with amplitude-sensitive LEDs, audio
Courtesy the artist and Bureau, New York
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live”—Joan Didion
Stories take many forms. They can be anecdotal or epic. They can be truthful or made up. They can be verbal or visual. They can be written, spoken, or silently performed. Our lives make no sense without stories. We need to hear them. We need to tell them to ourselves and to others, over and over and in endless variations.
Most stories are not one thing or the other but exist on a spectrum of anecdotal/epic, truthful/made up. And most rely on some combination of words and imagery: the words of a writer or storyteller conjure a scene in the mind’s eye just as the images of an artist want verbal explanation. Instinctually, we visualize what we hear and we verbalize what we see.
Constance DeJong and Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s stories are about as different as they can be. His take bodily form but remain mute in their telling. Conveyed across a storyboard of 76 photographs, the varying scenarios suggest a life with many chapters yet all out of order and quite possibly untrue. DeJong’s stories emit from vintage radios, invoking human relations and aspirations in a series of disembodied monologues, leaving listeners with fleeting yet sonorous visual impressions. Despite such differences, both bodies of work relish storytelling of a rascally kind, in which chronology is of no import, truth is only for the author to know, and enchantment of the audience is all that really counts.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia, A Storybook Life, 1978-99
76 chromogenic prints
Constance DeJong, Radios, 2015-ongoing
6 re-engineered radios with amplitude-sensitive LEDs, audio
New York City, 1984
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York