Provisional Prop (Texte Zur Kunst) (2020)
Christopher Williams’s anniversary edition for “Texte zur Kunst” ponders the beauty of a gleaming pair of black leather shoes, a staple of business attire. Many of Williams’s pictures emulate the extraordinary elegance and precision of advertising photography, but as the title, “Provisional Prop (Texte zur Kunst), 2020,” already suggests, this shot foregrounds the makeshift quality of the items, which act as stand-ins for the actual product. The provisional nature of the arrangement is most evident in the fact that the setting in which the image of the shoes was captured, including the required photographic equipment, is reflected in the shoes’ polished surfaces; this is further underscored by annotations identifying individual elements such as “Lighting Cove” and “Ceiling.” Closer inspection reveals that the picture is a fictional draft for a “Texte zur Kunst” cover. Modeling the shoe leather of critique, the work is an exceptional gift for this birthday girl!