Elisabeth Subrin

Damage Report

Installation: etched glass vitrines, pedestals, light fixtures
Commissioned by The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

"Intrigued by the language ICA's registrars have used to record the condition of objects as they enter and leave the museum ("damage reports") filmmaker Elisabeth Subrin recasts these handwritten documents as an ethereal presence in the gallery. For her first foray into object making, Subrin worked with glass artist Amber Cowan to imbed actual texts from the original "damage reports" that accompanied the 1989 Francesca Woodman exhibition that toured to ICA. From these archival ledgers, as written by then-registrar Jane Carroll, Subrin extracted and edited haunting phrases like "Numerous small losses along spine" and "curling inward slightly" whose corporal tone evokes their source — Woodman's elegant and troubled self-portraits. The subtlety of the etched text is heightened by the darkened gallery space, which illuminates low-hanging light through these handmade glass vitrines. Their emptiness evokes both Woodman's missing photographic prints and the biographical void that has entrenched her work within well-trod narratives."

—Kate Kraczon, Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia from Elisabeth Subrin: Damage Report

ICA@50, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia