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Unfortunately, the distance from the works that viewers are encouraged by this exhibition to maintain ends up theatricalizing them.
A concrete, theatricalizing object that is introduced into the actuality of life is not a true theater prop but a life prop--a far more complex notion.
So to the extent the images succeed in capturing the photographic moment they do so precisely by placing it within an incipient narrative--and by theatricalizing it, turning it into the scene of a conflict or drama that might even be allegorical (as the division between darkness and light always is).
The scene is ominous and awry, theatricalizing the loopy sadness of sex and interpersonal transactions.
Hirschhorn's terminology seems to be critical regardless of whether "installation" is derived from a practice that was once defined as contextualist and as such had been concerned with questions of site-specificity and discursive and institutional criticality, or whether it is more contemporarily defined as a spectacular set, as theatricalizing narrative, or merely as decorative design.
Helmut Newton's recent, ruthless portrait of a bikini-clad Beecroft provides a devastating, desublimating comparison: The photographer shows a body theatricalizing only its own failure, interrogating nothing.
The ranks of lamps, which vaguely resemble slanted prison bars, block passage from one side of the symmetrical, U-shaped buildings to the other, thereby ingeniously theatricalizing the viewer's response.
Sean Landers, skidded around abjection's mutable playing field, theatricalizing the gulf between real and ideal.
By isolating a particular trait and the "distinctive features" of a civilization, by exacerbating, theatricalizing, or transporting it to a slightly different context from the one where we normally see it, the human becomes identifiable, but always by means of a distancing effect.