I recently took a group of students to see

Sarah Anne Johnson’s show, Wonderlust 

at Julie Saul Gallery.

We’ve been investigating

The Screen As Body; The Personal Political.

Johnson investigates intimacy by capturing couples in their own

domestic surroundings.

I was most impressed by the interlocution of Johnson’s own physicality onto the photographs.  She often gouges at, scratches, paints or even glitters her photographs to capture the ecstasy, self-consciousness and banality of sexuality.

Her work reminded me a bit of Stan Brakhage’s old 16 mm film work

 Mothlight (1963), which he made by collecting moth wings, flower pelts and blades of grass which he pressed between two strips of 16 mm splicing tape.  The assemblage was then contact printed at a lab.

Brakhage said he made Mothlight “out of a deep grief. The grief is my business in a way, but the grief was helpful in squeezing the little film out of me, that I said “these crazy moths are flying into the candelight, and burning themselves to death, and that’s what’s happening to me. I don’t have enough money to make these films, and … I’m not feeding my children properly, because of these damn films, you know. And I’m burning up here… What can I do?” I’m feeling the full horror of some kind of immolation, in a way.”


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