Paul Brach Lectures Series
Studio Visits Monday, March 19 | Screening/Lecture Tuesday, March 20
Leigh Ledare pushes social systems to lay bare their underlying structures. His fundamentally collaborative projects depend on interpersonal negotiations and examine the dynamics that bind artist, subject, and viewer. CalArts will be screening a film Ledare directed in Chicago earlier this year titled The Task, which utilizes an experiential social-psychology method initially developed by London’s Tavistock Institute. The film unfolds over the course of an immersive three-day conference organized by Ledare in which a group of participants and a team of psychologists construct and analyze a social “ecosystem” whose task it is to study itself and its own unconscious dynamics. Through a series of conversations focused on the group as a whole, participants explore aspects of authority and identity by confronting differences and examining the impact of issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomics. Ledare and a camera crew are present as additional collaborators, modifying the method and the results while serving to mirror the effects of the camera in contemporary life. This intervention—a disruption of the self-contained system—complicates the structure of authority and boundaries within the assembled group, implicating the viewer in turn.
Leigh Ledare’s multidisciplinary work regularly utilizes photography, the archive, text, and film. His nuanced negotiation of the relationship between artist and subject gives rise to a complex and thoughtful body of work, questioning notions of subjectivity and the performative aspect of identity. Revealing shifting asymmetries in human agency relative to social frameworks and systems of communication, Ledare’s practice considers the effective means they use to reproduce themselves. Ledare rejects the notion that as historical subjects we are able to stand fully outside of culture to comment upon it.
Born in Seattle, Washington in 1976, Leigh Ledare received his MFA from Columbia University in 2008. His work has been widely exhibited in solo surveys at Kunsthal Charlottenborg (2013); WIELS, Brussels (2012); and at The Box, Los Angeles (2012); Pilar Corrias, London (2012); The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2010); Les Rencontres de Arles, Arles (2009); and Rivington Arms Gallery, New York (2008). His work has appeared in group shows at Metro Pictures, New York; Shirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2012); PS1/MoMA, New York (2010); Swiss Institute New York (2009); and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2008).