Skip to main content Start of main content

Babette Mangolte in conversation with Elena Filipovic

In this interview Babette Mangolte speaks to curator Elena Filipovic about her photography and cinematography in New York, as well as her recent Whitney Biennial installation. With a keen sense of the historical, Babette Mangolte’s installation How to Look, on view at the Whitney Biennial in New York from 25 February to 30 May 2010, reworks an exhibition of Mangolte’s held at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1978, transforming its objectives and the context in which it will be shown. The original installation focused on the idea of choice: the viewer was presented with a wall covered with 441 black-and-white photographs organised in panels that, from left to right, went from figurative portraits to composite images bordering on abstraction, and two identical sets of 52 photographic playing cards, laying on a table, that could be manipulated and re-organised. In the 2010 show, the wall has been re-installed, the photo cards on the table are encased behind glass, and a film shows the manipulation of the photocards. The installation tests how ones look at photographs when they are in a context that alternates between large-scale exhibition and small variations in theme,while the film plays with the idea of destruction.