Mental Images, an interview with Lauren Taubenfeld


– image Lauren Taubenfeld


Mental Images opens this Thursday at the ICP-Bard MFA Studios in Long Island City. In the run up to the exhibition I sat down with Lauren to learn a little about her and her work.

ewai: Can you tell me a little about your background?

Lauren Taubenfeld: I was born in Miami, Florida in 1991 and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I earned my BFA in photography from Parsons the New School for Design and am currently working on finishing my MFA in advanced photography at ICP-Bard.

e: When did you first get interested in art and photography, and why?

LT: I first became interested in art and photography when I was around 16 years old. I started taking black and white photo darkroom classes over the weekends while in high school. I quickly became enamored with all facets of photography as an art form and began working on my own unique projects when I went to art school in 2010.


– image Lauren Taubenfeld


e: Why do you make work now? What does it mean to you to make work?

LT: I make work now because it I feel it is what I was meant to do. The love that I have for art and photography is irrevocable. It is a means for me to work through different issues, create stories and narratives, and continue to challenge myself.

e: What are some of the main concepts you explore through your work?

LT: My work explores different subjects such as personal or intimate relationships, the domestic stage, mental health, dysfunctional relationships, and different kinds of phenomena. When I first started making work I was searching to learn about what it meant to be nomadic and not have a fixed home – I would call this anti-domestic work. Later on I began extracting from my own personal experiences with family and loved ones, depicting different kinds of relationships one would consider dysfunctional. My brother and I both suffer from mental illness and I make a lot of work about how that manifests.

e: Can you tell me about your process?

LT: My process may vary from project to project but mostly I begin with an idea and then begin planning what I’m going to shoot. As much as I may plan, I usually end up with something that is visually different from what I imagined and sometimes go with it. Other times, I begin shooting endlessly and the idea comes to me later after looking through my images. Because I shoot excessively a lot of the pictures end up in my archive. My work deals a lot with the present and the past so being able to pull from an archive really works to my advantage.


– image Lauren Taubenfeld


e: Who are you looking at artistically? Who or what inspires you?

LT: Some artists I usually go to for inspiration include Larry Sultan, Richard Billngham, Graham Macindoe, Justine Kurland, Alec Soth, Carmen Winant, Joanna Piotrowska, Sam Contis and Mathew Connors among many others. I also draw inspiration from personal experiences.


– image Lauren Taubenfeld


e: Tell me about the work you have chosen to show in Mental Images. How did you choose it and why?

LT: The work in this exhibition has taken shape over the course of ten years, in collaboration with my younger brother and various other family members. It stretches from my home, to deserts in the South West and finds roots in the Jewish Diaspora with pictures from Israel. It draws from personal experiences and trauma. In this body of work, the past and present fuse by using an ever-growing archive of old and new images.

e: What have you learned in preparing for this show, and what is next for the work?

LT: This show means a lot to me because it is my first solo show and the first show in which I have full control over the way I exhibit my work and curate the space. I have definitely learned a lot about editing, sequencing, taking time, and the importance of utilizing my archive. I like to play with the idea that photography cannot tell us everything and is sometimes very much up for interpretation, therefore I leave some things out intentionally. I tried to make it so that the viewer really has to spend time with the work to understand it in more than one way. I’ve heard quite a few people say that they compare looking at my work to reading a mystery novel. I want to continue photographing one specific aspect of the project which I have just begun to explore and further the narrative. I also plan on publishing a book including this work along with new images and text.

Mental Images

ICP-Bard MFA 2019 Solo Thesis Exhibition Opening: Lauren Taubenfeld

Opening reception: February 21, 2019 (6pm – 9pm)

On view: February 22-24, by appointment. Contact:

ICP-Bard MFA Studio

24-20 Jackson Ave, 3rd Flr, Long Island City, 11101


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