Marks of distinction by Karen Knorr ; with an introduction by Patrick Mauries
London : Thames and Hudson, 1991. Hardcover. 131 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
MARKS OF DISTINCTION by KAREN KNORR With an introduction by Patrick Mauries
Karen Knorr's photographs, apparently faithful to traditional norms of composition, gesture, lighting and staging, are in fact resolutely ambivalent: teasing their subjects whilst seeming to enter into complicity with their values. The four sequences in this book — Belgrapia, Gentlemen, Country Life, Connoisseurs — form fragmented narratives that present and comment on a uniquely English society which knows, better than any other, how to create its own eccentric spaces, impose its codes, polish the veneer of a perfect art of life.
From gentlemen's clubs to elegant Palladian country houses and the smart neighbourhoods of London, Karen Knorr finds emblems to put on to her stage; following a private aesthetic that draws on tableaux pipants, great painting, installation art, theatre, photography and the analysis of signs. The result is a succession of deliberately ambiguous images, at once critical and awestruck, distant and sensual, in which a culture of memory and tradition, seen in the distorting glass of irony, gives rise to images of the most extreme modernity.
In an introductory essay, Patrick Mauri&s presents Karen Knorr as an outsider whose exasperation with stultifying convention and social rigidity has produced a uniquely sardonic approach to her subject-matter, with humour never far beneath the surface. An interview with Karen Knorr illuminates her background, her working methods, and her personal philosophy, revealing her as an artist whose commitment to her chosen path is total.
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