We look to (and at) images to find information: practical, aesthetic, erotic, and points between or overlapping. We are often seduced; we believe the photograph’s illusory diorama of a point in time, the diagram or chart’s authoritative organization of fact. My primary concern is to re-imagine the human body – in relation to its own assumed/perceived structure, as well as to “others” (other bodies, spaces, systems). In my montage based work, each image is the intersection of two layers: one a figure photographed with limited control (underwater or in a pitch dark studio), the other a found photograph or textbook illustration. In combining two often contradictory vocabularies, I aim to subvert their ostensible subject while harnessing their respective power(s).
The goal is to propose a question, beyond or between the boundaries of their respective vocabularies: the authority of the scientific illustration, the inscribed ideals of the classical art reference, the sentimentality or “family values” of the vernacular found photograph. Juxtaposed to the metaphoric submerged or light-drawn figure, a jangling dialog is created that ranges from the reinforcing to the ridiculous. Some recent work separates these layers out into multiple panel sequences, the complicating component of oblique narrative replaces that of the ambiguous blending of montage. Direct dialog reappears in the most current work, where ink-jet monoprints are embedded directly in the pages of dismembered books.
In either (and any) case: can we finally see more than we know?
ROBERT FLYNT’s work has been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad since 1980. It has been shown in major museums, galleries, and alternative spaces, as well as in collaborative performance and dance projects.
In 1992 he was included in “New Photography 8” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where his work is in the permanent collection, as well as in the Metropolitan Museum, The International Center of Photography (NY), and L.A. County Museum, among many others His notable one-person exhibitions have been at Witkin Gallery, Wessel+O’Connor Gallery and ClampArt in New York, the Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, and the Gomez Gallery in Baltimore. He has been included in over 50 group exhibitions since 1980. He had a solo exhibition at Heartgalerie in Paris in March, 2009, followed by group exhibitions in Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Chicago, among others. In 2012, his work was featured in “Naked Before the Camera” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Flynt’s collaborative projects include commissions from Brooklyn Academy of Music with choreographer Bebe Miller in 1989, and the L.A. International Arts Festival with Ishmael Houston-Jones and Dennis Cooper in 1990, and with Yoshiko Chuma on The Yellow Room, Daghdha Dance Company (Ireland) in 2003. Body-Scan, a image/performance project with choreographers Benoit Lachambre and Su-Feh Lee, premiered at Le Quartz in France in March, 2008 and toured internationally in 2009. In March 2009 he collaborated with Pavel Zustiak/Palissimo on Weddings and Beheadings, premiering in New York at the Ailey Center Theater. The pair received a Baryshnikov Arts Center residency in 2010 and premiered their new collaboration, Amidst, there in June, 2011. This continues as Part 2 of Palissimo’s The Painted Bird trilogy, which premiered at the Wexner Center for the Arts in September 2012. His recent collaboration with choreographer Yoshiko Chuma, Love Story, Palestine was presented at La Mama ETC in New York in May of 2012.
Along with numerous visiting artist and residency engagements throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, Flynt has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Light Work, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Art Matters, the Peter S. Reed Foundation, and the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy. Most recently he was a resident at Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain.
Flynt’s work has appeared in numerous photo publications, anthologies and artist’s books. His 1996 monograph, Compound Fracture (Twin Palms Publishers) received a Best Books of the Year award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.