LE LUXE by Roe Ethridge [SECOND EDITION]
American artist Roe Ethridge's latest book takes its title from the French "C'est pas du luxe", an ironic phrase which alludes to the superfluous nature of luxury whilst proclaiming how essential it is to existence. Such paradoxes are fluently woven through Ethridge's oeuvre and Le Luxe encompasses his practice from the past decade, without ever slipping into the moribund gravitas of a retrospective. Plumbing his diverse image inventories, from personal images and magazine commissions to an archive of online screen shots, the book continues his exploration of picture-making that disavows the potential for creating a finished work. Ethridge para-phrases Eggleston when he states that he is "at war with the finished" in an era of digital photography straining towards idealisation. The pristine conditions of photography are undermined in the book's design and riff on Henri Matisse's apposite aphorism "exactitude is not truth" (Matisse titled two of his paintings Le Luxe). Composed in three parts, Le Luxe contains an unusual backdrop, the everyday of the artist, who worked from November 2005 to January 2010 on one commission documenting a building in downtown Manhattan on a site adjacent to the World Trade Centre. This narrative offers an uneasy balance to the fissures between analogue and digital and Ethridge's consistent undermining of his own certainties.
Shortlist of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2011