Endorsements

“Vason’s collaborative photographs are invitations— communicative acts that call on us to pursue intersubjective relations with alterity. Viewers are enjoined to move beyond themselves – beyond a libidinal imaginary stripped by mass media — towards singular formations. Through their bold performativity and publication, the singularities constellated nonetheless posit and indeed create community.”

Jonathan Beller, Professor, Humanities and Media Studies, Pratt Institute,  New York, USA

 

“Bliss

I had not seen Michael Mayhew since the mid 1980s. That was my loss, not his. Until opening Manuel Vason’s luscious Double Exposures that is. He looks younger, but is still on fire. He had played one of the arsonists for me, beautifully, in Max Frisch’s prescient play, The Fireraisers, back then. And now, he reaches out towards me, as I turn the page, and then turn back. The apparatus of the camera, in Manuel’s hands, has been lying in wait, in preparation for this moment (apparare: to prepare). Vilem Flusser would have us believe, in his philosophy of photography, that the apparatus ‘sharpens its teeth’ in readiness for photography. Well here it has sprung. And from a death mask Michael faces up to us from the grass, in bliss.”

Alan Read, Director Performance Foundation, Professor of Theatre, King’s College London, UK

 

 “Vason truly collaborates with his performance colleagues. His work debunks the traditional binary of photographer/model, and instead gives equal creative agency to each individual participating in the experiment. By framing Vason’s images as a truly collective, democratic work, viewers are encouraged to unpack complicated issues of authorship, ownership, credit, and criticism.”

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Performance Artist.

 

“Photography stages what it records; and subjects perform on that stage. In this age of the complicit auto-branding of the ‘Selfie’, it’s a relief to be reminded that the self and the camera are less knowable than we might think. In this book Manuel Vason’s collaborative photographs along with a range of nimble writers reopen for us all the uncertainties and possibilities, the trapdoors and escape hatches that make the self and the camera such wild companions.”

David Campany, Writer, Curator and Artist.

 

“The historical relationship between photography and performance is complex and fraught. Initially, photographs of performers were portraits. Later, photography became the primary means of documenting performances, thus allowing them to exist beyond the evanescent moment. In such cases, the photograph is often considered as a secondary text, a reproduction of an “original” event. But photography has also emerged as a space in which performances can take place, and there is now a substantial history of photographs that document performances that happened only in the photograph itself.

Manuel Vason is clearly aware of the many forms the relationship between photography and performance has taken, and his work is informed by all of them. Indeed, he refuses to allow his work to fall into one or another of the received categories but stakes out territories on the borderlines between them. Distinctive to his work, besides the ability to produce ravishing images, is the fact that his photographs do not self-effacingly document other artists’ performances but are themselves collaborative works. Double Exposures is his latest venture along these lines, a project that sees him working in new ways with performers with whom he has collaborated before, and emerging from behind the camera to appear as a performer himself.”

Philip Auslander, Professor at School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA