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Studio Visit

Curtis Mann

By

Curtis Mann

Curtis Mann—Artspace's second Artist to Watch-takes a brutally hands-on approach to photography, using bleach to disfigure images and then tearing and folding them until they become almost sculptural. For a glimpse into the artist's labor-intensive process (and to see how he blows off steam after work), follow Mann on a guided tour of his studio below.

Click here to read an interview with the artist about his work.

Curtis Mann's Studio

Whenever I get a studio I get a disgusting warehouse space with big garage doors in the front. I work out of pretty rough spaces-it fits me best. My wife loves beautiful light, I like things a little dirtier. I use the front of that space to bleach the pieces, and those are the hoses that I use to wash them down.

Curtis Mann's Studio

If you look on the ground you see those big metal rectangles that are sort of grids laid out, and those are basically how I make the big mural pieces. I use magnets to hold the pieces down on the sheet metal and then I spray them with bleach after I tear them or varnish them with different things and then I hose them off.

Curtis Mann's Studio

Most of the works in my upcoming show in Turin are about hiding the image, so the backs of the photographs are what you first encounter and then you have to move your head around to see the image or try to find it. With that piece you have to get to the side of it and kind of peer in—it's about turning that photograph into a sculptural object that you have to walk around flag. Underneath it is this old image of textured hands that was made really early on when photography first started and they were trying to figure out how it can convey texture. I photographed the image out of a history book, so when you look in there you see this attempt at dealing with texture and physicality. It's hard to see from the picture [laughs].

Curtis Mann's Studio

The space I'm working in is an old car mechanic's shop, so it's dirty and greasy, and with this piece I started to put fingerprints all over that big black glossy piece of photographic material. When you first come up to it it looks like nothing—it doesn't show an image—but when you move to the side and it catches the light all these fingerprints show up. The idea of a photograph is that you never want to get fingerprints on it, so I was like screw it and got my fingerprints all over it. So that piece just looks like nothing—it's kind of subtle.

Curtis Mann's Studio

I like troublemakers a lot and the mischievousness about how they approach their medium, so Gordon Matta-Clark is someone who is really exciting to me, just unabashedly destroying things. I've been using a lot of torn-out pictures from some of his books and building collages on top of them.

Curtis Mann's Studio

I work mostly at night and I play all day. I'm a quarter mile from a golf course and I grew up playing golf with my dad a lot and I'm close to pretty good for the East Coast surf spots, I'm a pretty big surfer. My job is pretty flexible, so I have a little practice putting green waiting to distract me when I get bored.

Curtis Mann's Studio

Curtis Mann's Studio

Curtis Mann's Studio

Curtis Mann's Studio

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