An Invitation (2012)

Seven hand-fed photolithographic prints on archival newsprint, with silkscreen and pencil additions, matboard, polished aluminium frames. Laserjet contract and vitrine.
91” x 47.5”

(Final text pending)

Seven large-scale lithographic montages and an accompanying contract comprise An Invitation (2012), a project that resulted from an unusual request. Ms. –, a socially connected figure from a prominent family who was fascinated with Ledare’s series of photographs of and with his mother, invited him to her home and commissioned him to take erotic photographs of her for her private use. Ledare accepted on the condition that he would be allowed to make two sets of images, one for her use and one for his own, with the caveat that her identity and identifying features be kept anonymous – by contract – in those he used. He made a nude photograph of the woman each day of the week that he was staying with her and her husband. For the resulting series, he redacted her face and superimposed each of the seven images on an enlarged copy of the front page of the New York Times corresponding to the day he took the photograph. He also added his own, subjective commentary, at the bottom of each work; these act as diaristic footnotes to a project about the slippery line between privacy and publicity. The whole is accompanied by a seven-page contract that Ledare, aided by lawyers, drafted to ensure the terms of the agreement that premise the work. The combination of elements juxtapose the extraordinary world events and everyday occurrences publicly recorded in the newspaper’s text and images with the erotic poses and private interior of the anonymous woman and her home; it also pins the cold, abstract language of the contract and its imposition of law to legislate relationships and erotic content against the personal, subjective images and language of the artist.

PDF of contract

Link to essay:

Link to conversation between David Joselit and Leigh Ledare