new-york

Lutz Bacher

Taxter & Spengemann

THIS IS BIEN HOA LOOKING AT IT FROM THE AIR BASE. THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD PICTURE. NOW DO YOU THINK THAT’S BEAUTIFUL? These sentences, written in blue ink by a man named Walter (presumably a US Air Force serviceman during the Vietnam War), accompany a black-and-white picture of a cluster of ramshackle buildings in one work from Lutz Bacher’s series “Bien Hoa,” 2006–2007, one of this exhibition’s two focuses. In each Bien Hoa, Bacher displays the often-annotated back of one of Walter’s original photographs, a cache of which she purchased from a thrift store, below her own larger photograph of its front, the camera pulled back far enough that narrow margins separate the two compositions’ edges (the old worn, the new clean). Whether we, the unintended recipients of the message above, think the subject is indeed beautiful matters less than our uncertainty as to whether that subject is Bien Hoa

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