Geoff Kleem’s work has been grounded in his investigation of the relations between photography and the object. Kleem’s objects, if they are bound by photography, nonetheless exist and operate separately from it, as if their desire were to break free of its reign. His work makes clear the instability of those relations. Photography has the object surrounded, one is tempted to say, before and after the fact—which would situate the object, semantically, as the fact; but, it has to be admitted, sometimes the photograph is the fact. Not all the time, though: Kleem’s work won’t let us settle for anything so routine (or comfortable) as the substitution of representation for reality, even when he installs a 1:1 scale photograph. It is the near miss, the not quite, the close match, that marks Kleem’s resistance to the simulacral. The fact that they are pre-, re- and even post-visualised by photographic means, suggests a constant worry about (and/or play with) the relations between means and objects. If the objects want to escape photography, there’s also the sense that photography might not be quite up to the job of accounting for or containing them. The relations between photography and the object remain unstable and shifting.
Edited from Discomforts of Home.
Frazer Ward, Column 2 Artspace
GEOFF KLEEM, DEATH VALLEY EUREKA, ARCHIVAL INKJECT PRINT, 2335 X 1365MM.
If the usual questions asked of works are ‘what do images do?’ and ‘how do they function?’, then Kleem’s practice suggests that a third question may be more relevant today: ‘what do images themselves want?’ As one writer has claimed, the answer is usually simple. Like us, images want what they lack: connections with the world beyond their frames, utility and, most of all, mobility. From the ‘useless’ ‘60s icons set atop wheels to the misty haunts of ‘Lost and Found’ and from theatrical hybrids to ghoulish conundrums, Geoff Kleem’s images would seem to agree. Our concern is no longer with the design of images, but rather what designs they have for us.
Geoff Kleem: The Dream World of Images. Anthony Gardner, Art and Australia Magazine