Pliant History by Lindsay Lochman and Barbara Ciurej


To expand the current discourse of power, Ciurej and Lochman requested women to “assume the pose” of Michelangelo's imposing figures of authority – the prophets and sibyls from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The presence of these seers and storytellers symbolically validated prevailing institutional power. Stripped of thrones, books, and robes, their contemporary counterparts confront history and embody another type of knowledge. Printed on translucent vellum, images from the past overlay the present, creating moments of hybridity and fusion. Together, the figures transcend the binaries of male/female, past/present, strength/weakness, intellect/emotion. The structure of Pliant History allows the viewer to literally turn the page on the past, suggesting other narratives and possibilities. The images are interwoven with excerpts from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, underscoring the inevitability of change.
Watch a video of this book in action here.

An excerpt from the book:

In accordance with the mutability of the allegorical record the artists BARBARA CIURE J & L INDSAY LOCHMAN elucidate The Naked Truth in an encounter with the Sibyls and Prophets – seers and storytellers through whom sacred prophecies flowed– once depicted by the painter of much renown Michelangelo who made manifest the divine in monumental physical glory as he served to justify authority Herein draped and undraped one upon the next signifying the shift of power in the auspicious year of two thousand and seventeen

Artist Bio

Since they first met as students at the Institute of Design in Chicago in 1977, Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman have been collaborating on photographic projects. Their work chronicles the confluence of history, myth and popular culture as these forces shape our understanding of personal experience; from adolescence to motherhood to aging. As an extension of their examination of the domestic landscape, their current work explores the politics and psychology of food. They have exhibited work in the US and internationally. Their photographs are in the collections of Art Institute of Chicago; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. Their recent work, Processed Views: Surveying the Industrial Landscape was published online by CNN, BBC, WAPO, The New Yorker and venues worldwide. Ciurej commutes between Chicago and Milwaukee. Lochman resides in Milwaukee, teaching at the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee.