Los Angeles

Stephen Prina and Christopher Williams

Kuhlenschmidt-Simon Gallery

Collectively entitled “The Construction and Maintenance of Our Enemies,” this collaboration between Stephen Prina and Christopher Williams took the form of 13 black-and-white photographs of plant specimens at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, all from 1986. At first glance, these carefully composed depictions of roses, cacti, and other, more exotic plants appeared to be an ironic demystification of the conventions of landscape photography—especially those established by such hallowed Modernists as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams—through the direct simulation of historical models. As with most conceptual pieces, however, the work’s real discourse stood outside the parameters of the immediate text, focusing instead on the process of collaboration and creative decision making.

Our first clue to this extratextual signification lay in the work’s rigorous documentation.

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