irl Plays with Snake by Clare Strand comprises images sourced from the darkest recesses of the artist’s extensive archive. The project continues Strand’s decades-long engagement with the scrapbooks, magazines and photographs that she has drawn together since her mid-teens. In this iteration of Strand’s ongoing research and reflection, women and girls are pictured holding, playing with and gazing fondly at snakes. Key to understanding the intention of the imagery is the inclusion of original accompanying text attached to the reverse, revealing stories of the bizarre and the erotic, alongside Myth and Credo.
Siegfried Kracauer would recognise Strand as a dedicated “Rag Picker”. She describes her working method as being like "rolling in newly cut grass and seeing what you pick up on your jumper”. Strand’s constantly evolving practice brings together intensive research, deadpan humour and insights into popular culture. She shifts from the mysterious and the absurd to understand public obsessions, often via trickery and manipulation. Recently exhibited work includes machines to encourage entropy, web programmes, looped films and intricate photographic constructions subverting, reimagining and manipulating the medium’s origins.
Clare Strand (b.1973) lives and works in Brighton. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at National Museum of Krakow (2014); Forum Fur Fotografie, Cologne (2010); and Folkwang Museum, Essen (2009). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Tate Britain; The Hassleblad Center, Gothenburg; Huis Marseille, Amsterdam; The Courtauld Institute, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Teatro Fernan-Gomez Arts Center, Madrid amongst others. Strand’s work is held in the collections of Arts Council England; The National Collection; British Council; Folkwang Museum; New York Public Library; Victoria & Albert Museum; Centre Pompidou, Paris and most recently MoMA New York and The Mead Gallery, Massachusetts. Two monographs of her work have been published: Clare Strand (Steidl, 2007) and most recently Skirts(GOST, 2013).