Experimental photography: Barbara Kasten ‘Stages’ retrospective at MoCA, by Charlotte Jansen, Art, June 2, 2016
Bauhaus professor, painter and photographer László Moholy-Nagy once said that ‘the salvation of photography comes from the experiment’. In the 200 years since the first camera photographs were produced, the uses of the medium and its subject matter has expanded wildly – yet few photographers have tried to push the experiment as far as removing the subject altogether. Barbara Kasten has. The Chicago-based artist – who was one of the first artists to be asked by Polaroid to experiment with its new large-format film – has been working with photography for almost 50 years, though it wasn’t her first medium of choice. She trained in painting, textile design and theatre (all three disciplines have left a notable influence on her work). Drawn conceptually to symbolic architectural spaces, and particularly to the intersectional ideas of the Bauhaus school, Kasten has been creating geometric arrangements in which the abstract is sovereign.