Panya Clark Espinal

Scrutiny — Panya Clark

This introduction to Panya Clark by Bruce Grenville appears in Scrutiny, a catalogue published by YYZ Gallery in Toronto.

On first reading, Panya Clark’s Research & Discovery, 1988, seems tied to a process of appropriation and the critique of representation. The images are clearly taken from National Geographic, and as such they allow for a reading of our culture’s fascination with the Other and the desire to control that Other through a rationalizing process of exploration, mapping, photographing, classifying, etc. However, instead of offering us a simple critique of representation, Clark seems to extend the project proposed by National Geographic. In a strange way she returns the object to the world, transforming it from its two dimensional “origins” and returning it to a three dimensional form. But now there is a gap which cannot be explained by the critique of representation. There is, in Clark’s work, no nostalgia for an authentic state of being, no sense ot loss or of wrongdoing. The distance between the self and the Other that is guaranteed by representation is here lost in the object’s inability to represent. Instead we must recognize in this project a dissolution of subjecthood and its replacement with an act of scrutiny. Here scrutiny is a rhizomatic process (in the Deleuzian sense), a deterritorialized flow which traverses a subject and releases it from the bounds of a representational instrumentality.

Bruce Grenville