Untitled (Balloons) :
I don't take pictures of people. There are never any people in my work, only traces of them - where they have been or might be - or subtitutes : dummies, mannequins, silhouettes. When I am asked if I would photograph people, I wonder : "Where would I put them ?". Having a living person in this picture would defeat the purpose. Viewers would lose the sense that they were looking in, seeing things from the outside.
I am interested in the look of the places where people spend their time and what they do to them - and what the places, in turn, do to people who pass through them. I want to leave a lot to the viewers' imagination, let them figure out or conjure up what might be going on. People have such a strong presence that, were I to photograph them, what interests me, the strangeness of how things are, would fade into the background. It is unavoidable.
Of course threre is a danger in the case of this picture that viewers will focus on the three figures at the expense of everything. But that's all right. They will notice how comic the figures are with missing body parts, taped limbs and paintball-splattered clothing. And there is more of a chance of them seeing the pictures as telling some sort of "story". Still, I have to admit this is one of the craziest pictures I have made.
The place is incredibly low-budget, with its balloons, broken-down furniture and makeshift curtains. Everything appears cobbled together and askew, a bit too big or a bit too small. The linoleum floor is quite something too, especially the reflection in it of pink balloon, and the clutter seems bizarrely arranged. Look, too, at the stain on the floor that goes up the wall. This is exactly how the place was. I felt that if I changed even one little thing, the picture would fall apart. The absurdity is heightened by the way the view camera records every details and by my photographing from a neutral standpoint. You could not find anything more meaningless and more dramatic if you tried.
Catalogue "Lynne Cohen - Faux Indices" - Exhibition at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - from February 7 to April 28, 2013 / Lynne Cohen & François LeTourneux (Page 59)