CG Exercise 2.1(1): Strategies for Deconstruction – Art Terms and Strategies

Reflective summary

How might I adopt some of the strategies employed by the artists considered below.

Gregory Crewdson

Strategies adopted include detailed advanced planning, minute attention to detail, detailed post processing, influenced by other artists. Has a consistent theatrical, elliptical style.

I love Crewdson’s work and that of some of his influencers, namely David Lynch and Edward Hopper. I will study and consider his style in more detail when doing the deconstructions for Excercise 2.2.

But perhaps the biggest take out as far as Crompton is concerned is his acknowledgement that there is a relationship between life and art.

Jeff Wall

I am not a fan of Wall’s style but the take out from his video is that he mentally records scenes of interest, returning in some cases to shoot them at a later time.

Philip Lorca diCorcia

diCorcia’s strategies include shooting square to the scene thus creating a cinematic look. I will consider this idea in an attempt to produce this Crewdson/diCorcia theatrical look.

I’m interested in the remote strobe capturing of portraits although how I do that in reality is hard to imagine.

Richard Misrach

Once again Misrach’s work does not particularly resonate with me but the takeout from his video is certainly to carry a small additional camera to catch those fleeting moments, and to be open to new ideas as they present themselves in the field.

And to get out there and shoot images!

Deconstruction (Tate, 2019a) (1)

Deconstruction is a form of criticism first used by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1970s which asserts that there is not one single intrinsic meaning to be found in a work, but rather many, and often these can be conflicting.

A deconstructive approach to criticism involves discovering, recognising and understanding the underlying and unspoken and implicit assumptions, ideas and frameworks of cultural forms such as works of art.

Since Derrida’s assertions in the 1970s, the notion of deconstruction has been a dominating influence on many writers and conceptual artists.

Tableau (Tate, 2019b) (2)

Tableau is used to describe a painting or photograph in which characters are arranged for picturesque or dramatic effect and appear absorbed and completely unaware of the existence of the viewer.

Exposed: Voyeurism, surveillance and the camera (Tate, 2009)

A Tate exhibition featuring images taken without permission. See the post on the Training Humans exhibition held at Osservatorio Fondazionbe Prada gallery in Milan by Kate Crawford, artificial intelligence researcher and Trevor Paglen. It featured images used to train artificial intelligence facial recognition systems. It made attempts to classify individuals simply by their face. It was scarily accurate!

Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (V&A, 2011) (3)

Ehibition curator, Tamar Garb discusses the show in a video. She describes the three dominant modes of representing people; the ethnographic (which she describes as treating people of colour as an extension of the flora and fauna are of the country), documentary photography (she says that during the apartheid era this was the dominant genre that could tell the world what was happening in South Africa) and portraiture.

Gregory Crewdson, Nowness, Photographers in Focus: The Cinematic American Photographer on a Career Spent Revisualizing Reality (Crewdson, 2017) (4)

Crewdson describes his work as theatrical, like looking at something simultaneously familiar but mysterious. He says ‘The images are of something ordinary yet tinged with a certain type of beauty and terror’ they contain ‘no motivation, no literal plotline. It’s just a moment of the picture’. Influenced by Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and the American artist Edward Hopper.

When discussing his work ‘Cathedral of the Pines’ he says that for him there’s always a relationship between life and art. Surely this is true of all of us?

Philip Lorca diCorcia, The Hepworth Wakefield: Photographs 1975 – 2012 (diCorcia, 2014) (5)

Dr Lackey suggests that these portraits disrupt the idea that a photo graph captures a moment of truth. She says he constructs the photos using dramatising elements that create a narrative. He shoots square on which he fills gives a cinematic effect. This is similar to Crewdson.

He says, ‘A person’s interiority is very different than their exterior appearance and to some degree life is performance’.

Richard Misrach, Destroy This Memory SFMOMA (Misrach, 2011) (6)

A photographic series featuring graffiti painted onto cars, houses etc in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Misrach spent several days photgraphing abandoned towns seeing nobody other than police. His main body of work was shot with an 8×10 field camera (he says he shot 100 sheets!), but the series ‘Destroy This Memory’ was shot on a 4K digital camera. Clearly graffiti wasn’t the original objective of the project but it’s interesting to see how he took the opportunity and developed a new idea in real time.


(1) Tate (no date) Deconstruction, Tate. Available at: (Accessed: February 9, 2023).

(2) Tate (no date) Tableau, Tate. Available at: (Accessed: February 9, 2023).

(3) Victoria and Albert Museum, (2013) Figures & fictions: Contemporary South African photography, Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography. Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL. Telephone +44 (0)20 7942 2000. Email Available at: (Accessed: February 11, 2023).

(4) Photographers in Focus: Gregory Crewdson (2017) YouTube. YouTube. Available at: (Accessed: February 11, 2023).

(5) diCorcia, P.-L. and Lackey, S. (no date) Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Photographs 1975–2012, The Hepworth Wakefield. Available at: (Accessed: February 11, 2023).

(6) Misrach, R. (2019) Richard Misrach: Graffiti in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, SFMOMA. Available at: (Accessed: February 11, 2023).

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