Since the early 1970s, Lynne Cohen has been photographing men’s clubs, classrooms, spas, military installations, laboratories, and other uninhabited public and private interiors. She has focused her attention on the strangeness and contradictions in the everyday world. Although her work has a social and political edge, and sometimes a critical one, it also has a wry humour. While these rooms appear to be carefully constructed readymade installations, they capture real sites existing within the everyday world.
Cohen documents the world by composing pictures that look uncomfortably still. These deadpan, large-scale photographs are at once unfamiliar and ordinary and the absence of any human presence echoes throughout the vacant interiors. Within these settings it is the everyday object–such as an empty chair marred by telltale scars–that becomes the main protagonist. The hyper-neutral quality of her images creates an entry point into each scene, implicating the viewer within these interiors. Cohen explains, “I hope to involve viewers and get them to concentrate on the puzzling nature of what is depicted.”