Scott McFarland, Man on Ladder, Archival Inkjet Print, 89x179cm, 2012

Paralyzed in New Orleans
The Canadian Artist Scott McFarland plays at Choi&Lager with the limits of photographic representation and deception. 


The works of Canadian artist Scott McFarland are relatively unknown in Germany, but a small exhibition at Choi&Lager Gallery in Cologne wants to change this. 

At first sight, his images register as documentary photographs, but upon closer inspection a series of incongruities become apparent; McFarland loves to challenge his viewers. 

The image "Man on Ladder", for example, doesn’t confuse at first glance. Everything fits, nothing seems unreal. But soon, one realize that something is amiss with this man on the ladder in the middle of the street; the ladder isn’t actually leaning against anything. A very unusual composition which plays with the viewer’s perception, bringing to mind to practiced stasis of the street performer posing as a statue while the other occupants of the busy street form a sea of gesture, action and agency. By masterfully balancing the sense of both frozen and progressing time within in the image, McFarland tests the representational limits of the photographic.

With this practice McFarland sets himself apart from contemporaries such as Erwin Olaf or Gregory Crewdson, whose protagonists are depicted as trapped between a posed moment of action and reaction. In fact McFarlands approach is more comparable to the work of Jeff Wall – who happens to be his mentor. 


- original by Damian Zimmermann, Stadt Anzeiger Cologne.,15189520,29172866.html

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