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Jennifer Bornstein

Gavin Brown's Enterprise
620 Greenwich Street, 212-627-5258
Greenwich Village
October 20 - November 18, 2006
Reception: Friday, October 20, 6 - 8 PM

Since the 1990’s, Bornstein has used forms of serialized image-making such as photography and film to record her interactions with people in the routines of everyday life. Bornstein’s choice of medium for this show—copperplate etching-comes from an interest in the technique as a pre-photographic method of mass-producing images with historical links to anthropology. Its slow and labor-intensive process uses acid to inscribe images on metal printing plates and has changed little since the 1500’s. At odds with digital technology, it is an anachronistic way to reproduce imagery. Bornstein’s subject matter for the etchings includes friends, students, librarians, a projectionist, various cultural figures, and a fellow bus rider. Other etchings reflect the artist’s interest in using the technique in an indexical manner, to sketch ideas and make studies for other works.

The first part of the exhibition presents works from 2003, completed while Bornstein was teaching for a semester at Yale University. During this time she enrolled in a printmaking class and learned the medium by making etchings of people inhabiting the university environment: librarians, her roommate, and her undergraduate students. The second part of the exhibition presents works from 2004 to 2006. These etchings are mainly composed as a series of film and sculpture studies, whose subjects include personalities stolen from tabloid newspapers, fellow artists, and historical figures such as Ruth Benedict, Buster Keaton, and Margaret Mead.

Continuing her previous work in photography, film, and sculpture, Bornstein’s etchings combine the documentary and representational possibilities of these media with her interest in the complex interactions between people and objects, be they artificial or organic encounters. Like the experience of watching a projected 16mm film (an atmosphere that Bornstein has created in past exhibitions), Bornstein’s etchings create a performative environment in which the viewer is implicated as part of the subject matter.
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