This book presents Suzy Lake’s bold explorations of gender, the body and identity. Along with her expansive use of the photographic medium, these concerns make Lake an exemplary model for contemporary artists. Combining a deep knowledge of photographic conventions with strong personal convictions, she produces work that both inspires and provokes thought. Beauty at a Proper Distance/ In Song (2001-02), for example, challenges notions of beauty and the aging body in a society that glorifies youth. Here Lake installed light boxes in public places depicting highly saturated close-up images of her face. In Performing Haute Couture (2014), she modeled high fashion designed for much younger models to celebrate and assert her maturity and authority.
Lake is a skilled and pioneering adapter of technology, which she employs to position photography as an art form and a vehicle of metaphor. In Reduced Performing (2008) she utilized the most sophisticated scanning technology available to scan the entire length of her body. At times explicitly political and at others quietly empowering, her photography is always rooted in a critical awareness of the self. The questions Lake raises are as relevant now, in the superficial age of social media, as ever before.
Suzy Lake has said that her art is “how I make sense of my life and how I come to terms with the world.” For the past 45 years her process of “making sense” has resulted in bodies of work that have established her reputation as one of the most significant artists of her generation. Robert Enright