The message ‘Page Not Found’ means you are trying to access a webpage that doesn’t exist, often because the site has gone dead or been removed. The exhibition ‘Page Not Found’ takes this access error as a starting point and opens with a large-format abstraction from Marike Schuurman’s ‘Expired’ series (2012) alongside a constellation of images from Douglas Boatwright’s photoconceptual archive ‘Autophag, Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Cannibal’ (2011–).
Shot with an SX-70 Polaroid camera to record São Pau- lo’s citywide ban on public advertising, ‘Expired’ relies on the chemical oversaturation of old film to give new life to an image of absence. While physically posing the ques- tion of how one confronts something that’s no longer there, the work also captures the simultaneous erasure and creation of everyday visual cultures.
The images that comprise ‘Self Portrait of a Photo Booth’ (2015–2018) expand the idea of portraiture, paradoxically by portraying nothing. Once again exploring the potential of different photographic techniques, Schuurman inserts the requisite 2€ into one of Berlin’s analogue photo booths, then lets the machine work. Observing the inkjet prints in a row, viewers might recognize the feeling of differentiation becoming similitude or details becoming white noise (or vice versa) from scrolling over a screen. Schuurman’s interest in these images rests in the tension between simple dichotomies.
Produced continually as a printer’s ink cartridge runs out, images in ‘Autophag, Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Cannibal’ link from a point of scarcity. Boatwright employs a mechanical apparatus – here a printer – in a process of re-imaging that relegates certain aesthetic decisions to the errors of a machine. The resulting, almost painterly prints invite interpretations that are at once entirely specific and ambiguous. They allow Boatwright to force questions of visibility, distribution and gesture from a variety of angles: a security guard’s hand breaking the perceived void of an Ad Reinhardt black painting, a screen grab detail of Trayvon Martin’s slain body accidentally flashed on a network news program, monuments in the American Confederate South being covered (or revealed), eclipses and voids.
For ‘Page Not Found’ Boatwright has created a series of stoppages that also function as links; like Schuurman, he stresses the way images can be both constantly seen and remain unnoticed. In this, their works in dialogue make examples of errors and emphasize how images expose as much as conceal information that at first seemed right at hand.
Curated by Isabel Parkes