The Flight That Moved Them
The title of Josephine Pryde’s exhibition at Gandt, “The Flight That Moved Them,” brings to mind a range of romantic and psychic movement—a flight of fancy, a flight of the heart—but its actual referent might be more literal. Pryde’s humor-inflected and dread-inducing photographs depict octopuses and squids draped over the fixtures of airplane and airport bathrooms.
The British artist’s work often recycles, riffs on, and subverts the traditions and conventions of photographic media. Cephalopods aren’t the first animal to get the Pryde treatment—guinea pigs figured prominently in an earlier series, which references stock photography and pet portraiture. Here, Pryde reconfigures the Yashica T4 camera, known as the go-to point-and-shoot camera for fashion photography in the ‘90s. Taken while on a flight between Portugal and Germany, and in the Frankfurt airport bathroom, the photographs on view depict octopuses with limbs spread on a granite sink counter beside a tiny basin, with trailing tentacles atop a stainless steel toilet paper holder, and wrapped grotesquely around a soap dispenser, each frozen in a stark flash. “As a courtesy to the next passenger,” a sign on the bathroom mirror reads cheekily, “we suggest that you use your towel to wash off the wash basin. Thank you.”
Josephine Pryde, Cabinets (Three), 2019/2021. C-print, 23.2 x 18.2 inches. Courtesy of Gandt.