• Michael Mahne Lamb

‘I’m not interested in suspending a viewer’s disbelief, I want them to be further grounded in reality. Don’t look through the window, look at it’.

Michael Mahne Lamb (Ngāti Kahungunu) works both with and against traditions of architectural, street, and conceptual photography. He makes photographs that embody the physical and psychological experience of the built environment, rather than attempt or pretend to ‘picture’ it.

Lamb’s analogue and physical processes binds the materiality of the photograph to that of the built environment, based around a shared constant state of flux and transformation. His source material is abstracted, and put through shifts in scale, perspective, and materials that transform two dimensional imagery into three dimensional objects. These image/object hybrids or ‘prototypes’ challenge the limitations of photographic representation, the frame, and any mode of presentation that privileges the perceptual over the physical. Large silver gelatin prints are mounted on metal substrates, sandwiched between sheets of heavy industrial perspex that lean against the wall, or threaded through perspex boxes via CNC-routed slots. They collectively offer a series of wall and floor-based encounters that push the material, physical, and perceptual boundaries of the medium.

These photographs are tactile and physical. You feel or sense the spaces they come from and construct, rather than see them. The source material for these photographs was shot in multiple cities across the globe, including Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Lamb’s material transformations dislocate this imagery from any sense of place. It is abstracted to become something or somewhere that feels other and alien, yet is still eerily familiar—an ‘infinite city’ that exists just beyond perception and photography’s conventional gaze.

Michael Mahne Lamb is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist, and co-director of photobook publisher Bad News Books. He completed an MFA at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in 2022.

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City Gallery Wellinton Te Whare Toi

  • Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street
  • Wellington 6140