Karen Knorr, ‘The Queen's Room, Zanana Palace, Udaipur’, 2011
One can hardly be surprised that Karen Knorr has spent most of her career delving into the value and significance of places. Born in Germany, the American photographer who is currently based in London grew up in Puerto Rico before attending art school in Paris and London. Her long-term love affair however has revealed itself to be India, in particular the opulent and intricate interiors of various palaces scattered across Rajasthan. Her latest exhibition, which consists of a hand picked selection of work shot between 2003 and 2016 features these lavish vicinities, along with various stately homes and European museums. These locales serve as exquisite backdrops that are playfully combined with images of wild animals (photographed separately).
There lies a beauty in the way Knorr nonchalantly meddles with boundaries surrounding reality when constructing these whimsical animal scenarios. Aiming to engage visual culture, conceptual art and feminism, Knorr uses her photography to explore cultural traditions. Although fable-like in appearance, her work is in fact void from the narrative, insinuating the vast chasm between two worlds, one of raw nature and one of cultural dwellings. This incongruent medley provokes thoughts surrounding ambiguity which is perhaps what renders her images their force and intrigue.
Knorr guilefully explores both the patriarchal values of upper class English society as well as contemplating the roles and representation of animals in art. One can just about just about decipher themes that implore underlying issues of power within culture heritage that lie subtly under the visual bounty and ingenuity of her work.
This third solo show of photographs is currently on display at the
Danziger Gallery in New York until 25th May