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Susan Hiller

Since the early 1970s, Susan Hiller, trained as an anthropologist, creates a body of work inspired by objects or vernacular practices, as a way to reveal the “unconscious” of our culture. During the 1980s and influenced by the Surrealists, the American artist develops an interest for the automatism of the photobooth as well as for its social functions as primary supplier of standardized portraits. The title of this series of self-portraits, Midnight [Minuit], transitional hour marking the end and the beginning of the day, indicates the introspective nature of her approach. The artist goes to photobooths located in subway or train stations at night, letting her thoughts run freely while she faces the mirror or the lens of the machine. Her varied different poses, presented in dynamic compositions, transform the booth into a psychoanalytic laboratory. Susan Hiller adds extra subjectivity and a pictorial quality to these images by enlarging them and covering them with colorful paint strokes and cryptic inscriptions. (Credit: Midnight, Baker Street [Minuit, Baker Street] © Susan Hiller / Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London)