b. 1968 in the US
Lives and works in Mexico
Mark Powell invites us into a world of familiar appearances but at the same time strangely different. Through his images, taken in the streets of Mexico City, he gives us a narrative with many different levels: the known but tortuous, the use of formal compositions but without balance, sometimes with humour, sometimes disturbing. It is unclear whether Mark Powell’s photographs are the result of objective possibilities, street photography, documentation, provocative collaboration, or all of these. We are therefore shown a world in which, shot from behind, two ladies with white heads awkwardly appear to morph into just one head as they pause to glance at the head of a statue. We also see a man in a park setting struggling to bench-press a tree log away from his chest: are we supposed to look directly at the photograph or wonder what lies outside the frame? Is the man in the photograph pushing against an unseen force and something besides gravity? Throughout Powell's work we are left with questions. One thing is clear, however, and that is that Powell offers an answer to the question that artists have always raised: does the act of observing change the origin and meaning of what we see? The answer is a question: would these scenes have happened this way, if Mark Powell had not been there?