F4: In the Interval

F4: In the Interval

Susan Jowsey, Marcus Williams, Jesse Williams & Mercy Williams

Rim Books, 2014, 96 pp., $25

Reviewed by Max Oettli for Landfall Review Online

1 November 2015


…So, yes, where does one begin? The idea of set-up family photos, of attempts at discourse and narrative by a mise-en-scène and by collage and other alterations of photo images, is about as old as photography itself, with some delightful and occasionally scary Victorian tableaux-vivants and collages that come to mind – as well as more recent amusements such as the Danish Jan family’s improvisations.1

But amusing F4 is not, or not intentionally anyway … We have to come to grips here with the medium of photography, with the richly ambiguous relationship pictures in general and photos in particular have with ontological reality. We are invited into a world that’s possibly a little creakingly surreal, as these images in their nature are a telling of superimposition, fragmentation and rupture. Take the (untitled) opening picture: a kind of René Magritte-Pieta remix. Against a studio’s black background, a young girl in white sits on a chair with a dead lamb on her knees. Her head is neatly bandaged with only her rouged mouth emerging, red as the single colour which transcends a very narrow palette of greys, whites and unsaturated flesh tones. Her legs do not make it as far as the ground. Turn a few pages, there is Marcus W. on his back in bed, his eyes closed, vomiting (snotting?) some kind of pinkish ectoplasm, still in the same restrained colour palate. My slightly impatient and definitely irreverent personal title for this is: ‘Ice Cream Dreams’.

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