Identification, Desire, Mutuality

A conversation about relations and figures in photographic space


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions

Slought, History of Art Department at the University of Pennsylvania


Kaja Silverman


Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

  • Abraham
  • Schneider

Slought is pleased to announce Identification, Desire, Mutuality, a conversation between Carrie Schneider and Kaja Silverman exploring relations and figures in photographic space, on Thursday, November 30, 2017, from 6-8pm. The talk will focus on Schneider's solo works, including Las Bebidas, Recession, Derelict Self, Reading Women, Summer Drawings, as well as Silverman's formulation of analogy as a way for us to relate to each other. This conversation is linked to More than Private, an exhibition of Schneider's work, curated by Silverman, that is currently on view at Slought. More than Private will close on December 13.

Although Schneider, like many of her peers, is a politically engaged artist, she differs from them in one striking way: she backs away from the abstract terms through which we conceptualize our "togetherness"—"masses," "public," "people," and even adjectives like "plural," and "collective." She gravitates instead to objects, activities, experiences and conditions that are saturated with private meanings, and that might therefore be seen as a-political. "Solitude," "intimacy," and "interiority" are her signature concerns. None of the works in this show, though, is private in the way property is supposed to be—that "belongs to," or exists "for the use of one particular person or group of people." There is also no work in this exhibition that is private in the way a person is supposed to be—complete, autonomous, and self-referential.

It is perhaps for this reason that we never feel that we are violating someone's privacy when we are looking at Schneider's work, even when the topic is something as "off limits" as the incest taboo. In fact, the opposite, is true: even at their most personal, the issues at the heart of Schneider's work are always"more than just private." This last concept comes from a 1925 letter from Rainer Maria Rilke, who had been living in a remote Swiss castle for six years, but had recently come to think of his writing as "more than just a private event." It is in a much earlier letter, though, that he offers his richest elaboration of this concept, and the one that—in its emphasis both on reading, and on the relational possibilities inherent in our childhood memories—is the most relevant to this show."One person or another would read what especially struck home to him in [the inexhaustible pages of Swann's Way]," Rilke writes, "and would hold it out in a specific way to the general opinion...and to many a one his own childhood would appear out of half-oblivion, and one would pass from tale to tale far into the summer night, but also far into the mutually rich true and alive." Mutually rich. Mutually true. Mutually alive. It would be hard to imagine a better description of Carrie Schneider's work, or of the kind of political engagement that it promotes.

read more

Carrie Schneider is a Brooklyn-based artist working in photography and film. Her exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki; the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norway; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; among others.

Awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Residency Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation NYC Film/Video Grant, and a 2015 Creative Capital Award. Carrie attended Carnegie Mellon University (BFA), The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Kuvataideakatemia (Finnish Academy of Fine Arts) in Helsinki as a Fulbright Fellow, as well as the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Kaja Silverman is the Katherine and Keith L. Sachs Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of World Spectators(2000), Flesh of My Flesh(2009), and The Miracle of Analogy(2015), the first of a 3-volume revisionary history and theory of photography. The forthcoming second volume, The Three-Personed Picture, will have Schneider's Las Bebidas on its cover and explores the three-person chiasmus among the sitter, the beholder and the author. Recently awarded a Distinguished Achievement Award by the Mellon Foundation, she organized and funded a series of conferences, lectures, artist talks, residencies, and exhibits in Philadelphia, at Slought and beyond. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Scholar Award from College Art Association.

Related projects
Begins Oct 7, 2017

Kyle Abraham and Carrie Schneider in conversation about choreography, film, and the politics of intimacy

Begins Oct 7, 2017

An exhibition by Carrie Schneider about the politics of intimacy

No results
No results