Sandy Skoglund

Born in 1946 in Boston, Massachussetts (US)
Lives and works in New York City, New York (US)

Radioactive Cats

Colour photograph, cibachrome
65 x 83 cm
Year of Purchase: 1987

By excluding all a posteriori manipulation of the photographic image, Sandy Skoglund carries out painstaking presentation work, like a mise en scène, in her studio. She is probably first and foremost a sculptress when she declares, with regard to many contemporary photographers, that ‘the image should be sufficiently powerful to transcend the medium’. She conceives of photography ‘as a way of unifying elements which are as diverse as they are disparate’. The dazzling iconic quality of these large cibachromes, Radioactive Cats and Revenge of the Goldfish, basically just perpetuates the sophisticated dreamlike nature of two installations. To work out her clever shots, Sandy Skoglund formulates a realistic scenography where there are live models, creating a situation, as well as a whole host of small terra cotta figures, modelled by the artist herself and brightly painted: 28 green cats, 120 goldfish… The fictitious animals seem endowed with a supernatural power; their unlikely proliferation invades the whole household space as it does in those fantastic films which Sandy Skoglund openly admits to being a source of inspiration for her. Oddly, the human beings remain indifferent to this ridiculous intrusion. The children’s bedroom becomes a gigantic aquarium, while the old people’s kitchen reflects a death dealing world to which the radioactivity of the title lends a sinister and alarming connotation.

Olivier Goetz