Catherine Yass

Corridors (1994)

Catherine Yass was born in England in 1963 and still works in London today. In 1986, Catherine received her B.A. at the Slade School of Fine Art, from 1988-1990, she studied her Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College. Some of the major commissions that Yass’ work has been featured in vast exhibition sites, worldwide.

Yass, sought after for her idiosyncratic style in her film based photographic work. Catherine Yass is highly experimental with her techniques as she uses solarization, which involves manipulating the subject matter by overlaying the photographic film’s positives and negatives. The process where dark areas can be converted into light and lighter areas are subsequently inverted into dark. The reminiscent visions of Yass’ poignant past with heavily colour-saturated images emanate a coldness (also very similar to X-Ray) that communicates artist’s feelings and voice in a story she wishes to tell the viewer. The evocative qualities, the psychological atmosphere created in her photographs, beautifully systematized through the choice of claustrophobic subject matter: sinister corridors, staircases and empty cells. Yass reveals the skeletal structure of the architecture, the hunting ghost that lurks beneath the subject matter, yet it still feels like a realistic sense of space inside hospitals. Yass likes displaying her photographs in light-boxes when she exhibits, this adds to the luminous feeling, which combines otherworldly and surreal quality to her photographs.

Yass thoroughly inspires me to use a colour scheme, complimentary of both cold and warm tones as they both have separate connotations. I feel this is very significant to Yass’s work but also my own. The use of fire looks magnificent especially as it is been through a solarisation process and therefore the colour is faded. The process enables the human eye to store the colour. I would like to replicate this within some of my work I would like to use fire to represent and incorporate a meaning within my own work. Yass seems to tell a similar story to my own, especially as she has used corridors within a hospital environment, this should be something that I either replicate or use to inspire my photographs to tell my story. Yass inspires me to use film as part of my project; I can achieve the great amount of sharpness but also capture the naturally beautiful grain within the analogue process. I would also like to capture the high-intensity of the saturation that Yass has used as I feel this will create an instant magnificent impact on the viewer. I would perhaps also like to display my work similarly to Yass by using light boxes to illuminate the colour intensity.

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