Catherine Soussloff


Relevant Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
Narrative forms and visual sequences: the new photography in American practice and French discourse, 19681989 (2018)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Outside art : Baggat and the history of modern and contemporary art in Korea (2015)

The Baggat Art Group formed in South Korea in 1981 and continued until today. It is a loosely formed collective dedicated to participatory practices in the outdoors and site-specific works, depending on the years in question. This thesis aims to rethink the significance of the Baggat Art Group through the lens of "ritual," as theorized by the anthropologist Victor W. Turner. The project is structured around a long historical introduction and two case studies: Exhibition of History and Environment in 1997 and Abandoned Island, Mountain of Healing in 2002. These two exhibitions demonstrate instances when Baggat Art, positioned at the margins of the art field and society, functioned as a site of negotiation for sociopolitical issues. I propose that an observation of how the Baggat Art Group has continued to rewrite itself into dominant narratives of art allows for a more comprehensive understanding of modern and contemporary art in South Korea. This project therefore adopts and attempts to support the group's objective of incorporating what is outside into the inside, transcending the limitations of existing boundaries, and to expanding the category of art by realizing what resides at its borders.

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Gordon Matta-Clark's photographic spaces (2011)

Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) is best known for his experimental “building cuts,” in which he reconfigured whole architectural spaces slated for destruction in North and South America, and in Europe. An extensive scholarship theorizes Matta-Clark’s practice as a critique of his architectural education and a recuperation of the social spaces outside its purview. Today, audiences view Matta-Clark’s building cuts through the two-dimensional media of film and photography, further complicating the original works’ play with temporality and performance. Recent scholarship has seen photography as central to Matta-Clark’s performance-based and sculptural practice. This thesis addresses a gap in scholarship between Matta-Clark’s photography and his ephemeral works. Matta-Clark’s use of photography as document relates to the Land Art practice of exhibiting outdoor works inside the gallery. His photographs also engage in the photoconceptual practice of questioning that very documentary status. I trace three modalities for the photographic within Matta-Clark’s works: image (referent), object (medium), and apparatus (technology). I suggest that the photographic image is historically situated by the latter two categories as an ontologically specific space, at once material and abstract, technological and theoretical. My research draws on theoretical discourses underpinning Modernist architecture. The role of photography is belied in Modernist architectural discourse, a mainstay of Cornell’s architecture program under the leadership of historian Colin Rowe, from which Matta-Clark received a BArch in 1968. I find an unstated connection between photography and phenomenal transparency, a term defined in Rowe and Robert Slutzky’s influential essay, “Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal,” where it is used to describe the abstraction of space in the work of Le Corbusier. I set up a theoretical framework for the conceptual role of photography in Matta-Clark’s practice by being attentive to the relationship between photography and architecture through the photographic slice, the visualized analog to the sculptural cut. I argue that in order to criticize the supposed transparency of both photography and architecture apparent in contemporary art practices and Modernist architectural discourse respectively, Matta-Clark’s work investigated the two media in tandem.

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