Since 1995, Canadian photographer Phil Bergerson has made numerous extended road-trips throughout the United States, criss-crossing the continent in search of the scattered remnants of the ĎAmerican Dreamí.
American Artifacts presents a sequenced excerpt from this sweeping topographical survey. Through a series of 32 colour photographs, the exhibition tracks Bergersonís encounters with liminal spaces and non-places inscribed with the residue of human behaviour and surplus cultural production. Detritus, disappointments and desires collide in shop window displays, hand-painted murals and crudely made signs; picture postcard views are notably absent.
By locating his material in the chaos of the urban environment, Bergerson draws on the american social landscape tradition established by Walker Evans and extended by robert Frank, Nathan Lyons, and Lee Friedlander. Operating as both documentary photography and cultural commentary, American Artifacts is a complex and poetic photographic portrait of a nation in transition.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of American Artifacts, a unique photographic book by Black Dog Publishing featuring seven suites of Bergersonís tightly sequenced images, bracketed by the writings of Margaret Atwood and Nathan Lyons
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