I think the first thing I want to say about Nikki S Lee, is that she is clearly talented and brave and narcissistic. Substituting herself into others’ groups and images, becoming fully immersed into the subject group. She is an actor and a challenger as wells an artist.
How I read her images is simply, Concept Is King. The quality and the composition of the photograph becomes unimportant, in comparison to the actual narrative she is trying to fit into and portray.
This interpolination appears to transcend different mediums of art and can also be seen in performing arts, animation, painting and sculpture.
What is she really searching for?
Does she like seeing her self in other people’s shoes?
Is she a lost soul, searching for a new and own identity?
Is it my cup of tea, most definitely not, but I do understand that it asks some fundamental questions with photography? The main ones being –
- Does an image ever represent the truth?
- What is the truth and how do we know when we see it?
- Who are we as individuals?
- Can you capture the true essence of a person/group in an image?
I believe that she exploits the good will of the group for her own vanity. This then loses the actual identity of the group, as she is in outsider imposing herself fictitiously within it. The group is not “the group” any more, as usually one of the group is missing (photographing the new group) and there is an imposter in there, creating a visual lie, albeit a humourous one.
I do see and understand what she is doing, but this type of work is simply not for me. It’s all acting, posing, and far too self indulgent for my liking. Yes it raises questions, which is good, but I simply don’t enjoy it.