Everything has a transforming beauty if you take the time to see it. Wear and tear can be intriguing. The Japanese aesthetic of ‘wabi sabi’ celebrates the beauty of things imperfect and incomplete; things humble and unconventional.
I came upon giant bales of shredded paper outside a factory in an industrial area of Toronto in January 2001. Each compacted bundle, about 2 cubic feet, was bound by wire and stacked into bulk units, approximately 12′ x 20′. Here,exposed to the elements, they waited to be recycled into boxes.
What appeared from a distance indistinctive and unremarkable revealed, in close-up, juxtapositions of compressed culture: an unanticipated complexity of substance and design. The random mix of source materials – matte and gloss papers, newsprint, account ledgers, maps, fashion advertising – gave texture and collage effects.
The machine’s intervention had yielded compositions containing fragments of memory, shards of history, and faces of our time that had sold us products, made the news. The eyes that peer out from the photographs are present and compelling.
The act of separating subject matter from context creates a new reality. That’s the adventure. I look for the moment when the world tilts a little and meanings blur.
I selected the images through the viewfinder and photographed in available light, but they were produced by machine. In that sense, they are ‘found images’. I did not alter my subject matter in any way. I returned to photograph over a 4-month period until one day in May, the bales were gone.
“I love Anne’s eye, it’s fresh. She trespassed into garbage and came back with beauty.”
Joni Mitchell, Musician, Painter
“In the beginning I found the work luminous – recently it has become denser and more painterly. Haunting and spare at one instance, lyrical and full of light in another.”
Mary Pratt, Artist
“Trash and trash culture alike are found, compressed, in Anne Bayin’s
PULP photographs. The faces and traces of everydayness rescued from
banality, and humanized, precisely at the moment of being discarded. Call
it redemptive consumption, a gritty form of love.”
Mark Kingwell, Cultural Theorist, Author
“Her photographs explore the found-object beauty of compressed pop culture.
Portraits of soon to be recycled print media capture a transient moment
in the physical transformation of icon into pulp”
Gibsone Jessop Gallery