Photographer, designer, and installation artist Barbara Bloom has built her career on questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions, and commenting on the act of collecting. The Collections of Barbara Bloom, which accompanies a retrospective of the same title at the International Center of Photography, explores all aspects of her oeuvre, including works from past multimedia installations and newly made pieces, as well as objects from her vast personal archive of ephemera and advertisements…
It’s no coincidence that BB, the moniker by which Barbara Bloom is referred to in the catalogue and wall texts for ‘The Collections of Barbara Bloom’, was also a popular nickname for Brigitte Bardot around the time that she starred in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris (Contempt, 1963). The kittenish star’s faded celebrity suggests yet another shadowy corridor in this delicately labyrinthine show, which simulates a posthumous exhibition. Bloom is also an admirer of Godard’s films, as well as of the writing of Vladimir Nabokov, who often made imaginative use of his own initials. But why did she choose to reprise her career as though it were already over?
Barbara Bloom interview
I think of the objects as being more like metonyms, stand-ins for the person who’s not there. They are not symbols. Symbols are much more general; they have a larger presence. A symbol has to read to many different kinds of people in many different contexts in order to be a symbol. The objects that I used are more specific than that. They are much more about an individual’s use of them…