Coinciding with the European Month of Photography, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean presents a monographic exhibition of one of the most important photographers of her generation, LaToya Ruby Frazier.
Since the early 2000s LaToya Ruby Frazier has developed a photographic practice that is both personal and engaged with the social, political and economic realities that traverse contemporary society. By making herself the spokesperson for a working class that has been overlooked and left behind, and by dealing with issues such as deindustrialization, environmental justice, unequal access to care or racial discrimination, Frazier’s work draw attention to people, places and issues that often remain unseen. According to the artist: “Activism starts to take place because images become available of something that wasn’t visible.”
Drawing upon multiple histories of photography, Frazier reinvents the documentary approach by considering it from a more intimate perspective. The ambitious series that brought her into the public eye, “The Notion of Family,” was created between 2001 and 2014 and bears witness to the decline of Frazier’s hometown of Braddock, the former steel capital in the Pittsburgh suburbs in Pennsylvania, through the experience of three generations of women: her grandmother, her mother and herself. Through personal experience, Frazier brings to light a collective history that is universal in scope. “Braddock is everywhere,” she says.
For her exhibition at Mudam Luxembourg, Frazier presents a group of images from “The Notion of Family” together with two recent bodies of work that highlight the consistency of her oeuvre as well as the richness of its subjects.
Presented for the first time in Europe, “On the Making of Steel Genesis: Sandra Gould Ford” (2017) is the outcome of a close collaboration with Sandra Gould Ford, a photographer and writer who was employed by the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company in Pittsburgh and documented life and working conditions in the factories in multiple different ways. Frazier’s photographs juxtapose portraits of Ford with reproductions of documents found in her archives. Also presented is the series “Et des terrils un arbre s’élèvera” (2016-17), the result of an ambitious project completed in the Borinage near Mons in Belgium, a major coal-mining area in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. It combines large-format photographs depicting landscapes shaped by the region’s industrial and working-class history, many of which are taken from the air, with images shot during meetings with former miners and their families.
LaToya Ruby Frazier was born in 1982 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, USA. Her works have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the MAC’s in Hornu (2017), CAPC in Bordeaux (2016), Carré d’art in Nîmes (2015), Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2013). She has participated in international biennials, such as the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the 8th Busan Biennale (2014) and the 76th Whitney Biennial (2012). Frazier was awarded the Gordon Parks Foundation Award in 2016 and the MacArthur Fellowship in 2015 as well as, the Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography of New York for her book The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014).