Since the 1970s Karen Knorr has been making photographs that address debates about the politics of representation that engage gender, identity and class. Born in Germany and raised in Puerto Rico, she’s now based in England and teaches at the University for the Creative Arts in Surrey. Her personal geographic prism has sensitized her to cultural bias in a way that lends her work a sharp-eyed anthropological aspect. Her first major series, Belgravia, pointed a camera at her own family’s social network— affluent Americans that had migrated to London— with ironic texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system in the Thatcher era. Veering from early black-and-white to color, Knorr has also taken on the 1970s punk scene (done collaboratively with Olivier Richon), exclusive London men’s clubs, effete art connoisseurship, academies and museums across Europe, and a blending of classic fables with pop culture. In almost every instance, she uses elaborate architectural interiors to stage her meditations on visual culture past and present.
Her new series Fables will be shown at the Danziger Gallery in New York until May 3 along with recent works in her ongoing series India Song— a playful dialogue with the tropes of animal and travel photography and, says Knorr, questions of feminine subjectivity— created in heritage sites across Rajasthan. LARB contributor Michael Kurcfeld interviewed her about her life-changing journey to India, at Paris Photo in November.
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