TENEMENT is made up of 3 Brooklyn based artists, Jolene Lupo, Richard Solinger, and Mike Falco (author of “Middle School Sux” ). Separately, the three are all pretty interesting in their own respect. Jolene is influenced by folklore, 1870s spirit photography, and all alternative printing processes. Mike Falco does some sick illustrative work, sometimes political in content, sometimes based on his own fucked up experiences (see above). Richard Solinger’s work focuses on cutting and pasting images together and juxtapose in a way that poses both questions and statements about the nature of humanity and reality. Together, they’ve been cracking down and making some dope shit. “We’ve probably shot over 100 plates in the last two weeks” says Solinger.
A few weekends ago was the GO! BROOKLYN open studio project put on by The Brooklyn Museum. Artists registered to have their studio’s put on a map of over 1,000 other studios all over the city’s second largest borough. Visitors to the studios were able to nominate 3 artists from 3 studios each to be featured in a show at the Brooklyn Museum. The studios were also visited by Brooklyn Museum curators, again, in search of work to be featured in a show at the museum. Half competition, half getting to know your neighbors sort of thing. I went to check out the studio of the TENEMENT photography collective. Their studio is located in the larger bedroom of Mike and Jolene’s two bedroom apartment in Bushwick, complete with a living room closet converted into a darkroom adapted for the archaic Wet Plate Collodion process. The process they use involves pouring collodion onto a metal plate, which is then fit into a specially carved out 4 x 5 film holder, and then placed in a big ole field camera. The trio generally shoots portraits, and since exposure times can be up to 3 – 5 minutes, their subjects are forced to hold very (uncomfortably) still. After the plate is exposed, it is placed in a developer bath and then washed in running water for about 8 minutes, left to dry, and finally varnished for a completed project. The results are incredibly detailed, eerie anachronistic portraits which are often narrative in their content.