ArtForum, David Rhodes — 2013
As odd as it may sound, Anne Hardy’s obsessively detailed scenarios recall Joan Miró’s 1920s paintings of fields and farmhouses. Miró’s flattened picture planes are staged and artificial tableaux of signs and objects, which Hardy achieves with photography’s limited depth of field. Her peculiar type of precision, one that accounts for every inch of the composition of hand-made marks and found objects assembled and used, also recalls the fastidiousness of Andrei Tarkovsky’s sets. So much of Tarkovsky’s obsessive perfectionism in choosing and arranging every object was aimed at building atmosphere as much as a scene, even though it was destined to be trash after being recorded on film. This wouldn’t appear to be so far from Hardy’s own intentions.
Everything seen in Hardy’s photograph Notations, 2012, was once ordinary: a branch picked up from a fallen tree, broken eggshells that are painted silver, paper targets hurriedly taped to the fiberboard wall, the same wall to which the branch is attached.
Black cords string CD disks and balloons at odd intervals along the wall, which is drilled and dented by what appears to have been innumerous air-rifle shots. Some objects—vases, some inverted, crocodile clips, a battered metal plate—sit on a shelf or on the floor in front. It’s difficult not to get drawn into indexing and listing all that is in front of you in an effort to figure out what’s going on, or rather what
has gone on.
There are three other photographs of similar DIY displays and two realized installations in the exhibition that span the gallery floors. The constructed spaces come as something of a surprise as they display interiors that previously would only have been assembled in the artists studio, only later to be photographed and then destroyed. Here, they can be entered. As these displays are windowless, they convey a suffocating subterranean feeling already present in the photographs. Hardy’s environments, whether presented as photographic record or as an accessible space, are filled with the absence of performative acts, each with their own gnomic, disconcerting purpose, however approachable the residual things
seem to be.