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Barbara Kasten in "Chicago"Preview

In this preview from the Chicago episode of Season 8 of Art in the Twenty-First Century, artist Barbara Kasten stages photographs using light and Plexiglass in her Mana Contemporary Chicago studio.

“It’s a constant process of being in the set, moving the lights, going behind the camera, looking at the image that’s resulting,” says the artist. “That can take hours, actually.”

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Barbara Kasten

Barbara Kasten makes photographs and video projections in her studio that evoke an experience of movement through modernist architecture. While abstract, her work is subversively political, asking viewers to fundamentally question their perceptions. Trained as a sculptor, Kasten began to investigate photography through cyanotypes of fabrics and photograms of objects placed directly on the paper. This led her to photograph elaborate compositions of objects in the studio—such as Platonic shapes, paper, plexiglass, and wire—often illuminated by theatrical lighting and colored gels. Kasten’s video projections of rotating objects and planes of drifting color, cast onto building exteriors and interiors, destabilize the architecture through the optical fragmentation of forms.

“The physicality of the transparent sheet of Plexiglass has no representational value. But when you hit it with light, the physicality of it is manifest.”

Barbara Kasten

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