Matt Lipps’ Carefully Constructed Photographic Tableaus
Over the past twenty years, Matt Lipps has developed a distinctive photographic practice that pays tribute to the history of twentieth-century photography while also questioning the dominant myths that structure our cultural narratives.
Matt Lipps refers to his practice as being “in, with, and alongside photography,” to call attention to the profound ways in which we relate to notions of ‘the photographic’ as a shared historical artifact, a means of social engagement, and a material object. Employing collage strategies, sculptural tropes, and theater staging, he constructs three-dimensional compositions of appropriated images from high and low culture made into autonomous paper-dolls to be re-photographed. The newly-positioned constellation of images invites dialog about how photographs reflect and shape our ideas of self and other, the worlds we inhabit, and how we move through them.
Lipps’ process involves meticulously cutting out portions of the journalistic images and layering them onto freestanding cardboard silhouettes of supermodels in animated poses, creating three-dimensional tableaux that are then re-photographed and enlarged. In exploring the role of mass media in forming the photographic canon and structuring gender, Lipps simultaneously questions the disparate notions about both genres: shallow commerce versus deep investigation; ephemeral style versus timeless documents; and femininity versus masculinity.