Jemima Stehli´s photgraphic works are performative experiments where she places herself as either subject or object of the image and often as both. In so doing she explores the relationship between sculpture, photography and performance and underlies the tensions that exist between these mediums. A number of Stehli´s works incorporate iconic imagery from other artists, ranging from Helmut Newton to Allen Jones to Larry Bell, investigating the traditions of Art History and exploring a contemporary relationship to them.
Much of Stehli´s work is shot in her studio, placing the body of the artist in relation to the other means of production. The use of the mirror is central to many of these works, recording the image of the artist against her own reflection. The interest in reflection and the doubled image has developed into works where other people are invited to play a part in the work (Strip 199-2000) sometimes even as collaborators as in the series made with the conceptual photographer Jonh Hilliard between 2001 and 2004.
This strategy of participation with another artist is the basis for the recent commissioned work at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon, 2005. Photo Performance is a series of photo and video performances made with the Larry Bell work, untitled (horizontal gradient) 1995, owned by the Berardo Collection. Here, Stehli moves out of the studio to the less forgiving space of the institutional environment and invites Lewis Amar to perform within the frame of the work, at times superceding her role as artist. In a complex negotiation of responsibility Stehli instructed Amar to place her in position to take the photograph with the cable release she holds in her mouth. This is recorded as a set of 31 real time videos which were recently exhibited together with the related polaroids and large scale photographs at Lisboa 20.