Imagine a world endowed in the wonders and aesthetics of forgotten histories. It’s easy if you try. Decisions may not be nearly as based in mistakes as they are in chance. Unknowable questions are best. Imagine a culture that reflects one’s own life. Matthew Leifheit’s Your Giorgio at MAW Gallery in New York City deals in such fascinations. “A gay pursuit may not be correct to say.” Leifheit smiles. He’s a wonder; the works are further, surreal, curious. Your Giorgio comes from months and months of intimate time Leifheit has spent with the secret scraps, collections, and photographic diaries of George Platt Lynes. We each are possessed to keep things that adorn us in pleasures and nuances. Exploring such spaces, pages, and objects is totally individual.
Seeing into someone else’s fissure becomes subjective and intimate.
We live for today. The community and source of reanimating a stranger’s history is elusive and deceptive. The concurrence of revitalization lurks in the pages of Leifheit’s sultry book and documentation of Lynes. He, Leifheit, has constructed a large accordion book for display of his images of Lynes’ collected memorabilia. These are not baseball cards; they are of minds and men, curious and quandary, visually oriented. Removed, circulated, acidic, material. All things move toward a state of entropy; these things that Leifheit documents are no exception. Is this a way to preserve? The unseen is inert until it is engaged. Vision and voice comingle in Your Giorgio.
To spend such hours pouring over cached relics conjures the inescapable joy of looking. A camera is a guilty party of such joys. Complicated feelings emerge from documented subjects. “Where are my sources?” Leifheit doesn’t see the works of the show as fair or having a balanced view. They are synthesis, amalgamate and newly public. Your Giorgio explores relationships of shared versus secret. In their state of decomposition and tenderness there is an emboldened applied opinion. Incorporating original imagery–framed prints–Leifheit draws connections. Specific histories inform contemporary actions. What propels someone to hold on to something? We are keepers of our own frantic memorial. A full picture can emerge, but you have to stand back. At a distance stories emerge, they can be just as unreasonable as they are researched.
The body is a funny thing. Does the space it occupies stay behind? Leifheit’s work bargains connections, stages of interest, a wonderment of anything making sense—or nothing. How does exposure communicate sight? Eliciting information from that result is exorcised by journey, communication, self-reflection, and human affairs. They are each uniquely individual, not least of all George Platt Lynes or Leifheit. Photography pushes back, just as much as it is read into. Together there is a solid realization. Pictures contain things that are unrealized in the moment.
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is a writer, photographer and independent curator based in New York, USA.
Matthew Leifheit, Your Giorgio
January 13 to February 19, 2017
56 Henry St
New York, NY 10002