Artist Talk: Luke Willis Thompson
Artist Luke Willis Thompson discusses his work autoportrait, a deeply affecting filmic study of grief that reflects the personal stakes of visual representation, exhibited at Chisenhale Gallery in 2017 and now on display at The Photographers' Gallery.
autoportrait is a silent 35mm film of Diamond Reynolds. In July 2016, Reynolds used Facebook Live to broadcast the moments immediately after the fatal shooting of her partner Philando Castile by a police officer during a traffic-stop in Minnesota, United States. Reynolds’ video circulated widely online and amassed over six million views.
In November 2016, Thompson established a conversation with Reynolds, and her lawyer, and invited her to work with him on the production of an artwork. Thompson wanted to make an aesthetic response that could act as a ‘sister-image’ to Reynolds’ video broadcast, which would break with the well-known image of Reynolds, caught in a moment of violence and distributed within a constant flow of news. In June 2017, Reynolds’ original video was played to a jury as evidence. Despite the abundance of visual information, the officer who killed Castile was acquitted of all charges. autoportait continues to reopen a question of the agency of Reynolds’ recording within, outside of, and beyond the conditions of predetermined racial power structures.
autoportrait is shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018.
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