© Joshua Lutz. courtesy Clampart. Above: Pretty Boy Floyd.
Because of basement flooding during Hurricane Sandy, ClampArt in New York City may be weeks without electrical power. But gallery owner Brian Clamp expects to open Joshua Lutz‘s new show, “Hesitating Beauty,” as scheduled on November 29.
Blending family archives, interviews, and letters with his own photographic images, Lutz spins a seamless and strangely factual (yet unflinchingly fabricated) experience of a life and family consumed by mental illness. Rather than showing us what it looks like, “Hesitating Beauty” plays with conceptions of reality to show what it feels like to grapple with a family member’s retreat from lucidity. The work breaks down the structure of the photograph as “truth” and challenges the traditional function of the medium in building narrative.
“Holding on so tightly to what I believed was sanity and being consumed by fear of depression and schizophrenia prevented me from being fully present to my mother’s reality,” the photographer writes. “The past few years, as she slipped away from the aggressive paranoia and depression of my youth to an almost calming sense of delusion, made it much easier for me to rid the anger that veiled my life and to attempt to find a place of empathy and compassion as I managed her care. In making this work and simultaneously falling deeper into her psychosis, I tried to imagine a time when the past, present and future collided; a place where the weight of memory is heavier than reality.”