Photographer Lisa Kereszi's strips away the artifice of enjoyment in her quietly dazzling work

10 August 2012

Photographer Lisa Kereszi’s work appears to be part of that interesting and ever-growing genre, whereby environments originally designed to entertain (theme parks, amusement arcades, and so on) are captured, often in states of decay, and reconfigured to reveal their artifice. They often evoke strange, dystopian spaces, where the attempts to control the audience’s mindset are exposed in starkly composed shots that juxtapose reality with those attempted fictions. Now, such settings have always had the ability to stir the imagination – Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, and, much more recently, Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, use fairground settings to great effect. Kereszi’s work likewise provokes interesting questions about “space” and “meaning”, but in the context of an ever-morphing, commercialised, consumerist society.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Kereszi studied Photography with Literature, before completing her Masters in Fine Art at Yale, where she currently teaches. Indeed, her Fun n’ Games series – often arresting, often dramatic – is filled with narrative tendencies and clashes of subject matter; the shovel in can set against the fantastical skyscrapers emerging from cloud, the plastic shark gaping from a lake – it produces a thought-provoking tension between artifice and reality.


Lisa Kereszi: Shovel in can, Broadway Arcade, Times Square 2004. Copyright Lisa Kereszi


Lisa Kereszi: Plastic Shark in lake, Poconos, Penna. 2005. Copyright Lisa Kereszi


Lisa Kereszi: Motel bathroom, Tupper Lake, NY 1999. Copyright Lisa Kereszi


Lisa Kereszi: Mural at bar, Siofak, Hungary 2006. Copyright Lisa Kereszi


Lisa Kereszi: Fourth of July at the racetrack, Salisbury, Conn. 1999. Copyright Lisa Kereszi


Lisa Kereszi: Parking garage, Fourth July, New haven, Conn. 1999. Copyright Lisa Kereszi

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Catherine Gaffney

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