I Know What You’re Thinking (from “The Refusal”)
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Set of four c-type prints on mdf
Edition of 7 + 2 APs (#6/7)
Jo Longhurst is internationally recognised for her explorations of cultural notions of perfection and traditions of photographic practice through photography, video, performance and installation.
Her practice often involves long-term collaborations with groups of dedicated individuals who are passionate about what they do. Her on-going projects “The Refusal”, and “Other Spaces” explore the worlds of the British whippet and the elite gymnast. Despite the many layers of vision and posing, mirroring and doubling that inform her investigations, her questions and concerns most often revolve around intriguing triadic relationships and questions of power, control, gender and agency, highlighting the difficulties associated with any form of visual representation.
Longhurst is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, London. In 2012 she was awarded the Art Gallery of Ontario's Grange Prize (now the AIMIA/AGO Photography Prize), Canada's highest award for excellence in international photography. Her work has won many other awards including the National Media Museum Photography Bursary; the Pavilion Commission; selection for Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool Biennial; Discovery Award, Arles International Photography Festival, and individual awards of Grants for the Arts, and Artist International Development Fund from the Arts Council of England and the British Council.
Her work is held in public and private collections and has been shown in many exhibitions and events, including New Order, Other Spaces, for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships Cultural Programme; Pets Friends Forever: Pets and their People, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden; Photography is Magic, Aperture Foundation, New York; Arche Noah. Uber Tier und Mensch in der Kunst, Museum Ostwall in Dortmund; Sport, Sport, Sport, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow & Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, London; Other Spaces, Mostyn, Llandudno; The Worldly House, dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel; Artists' Symposium on Perfection, Whitechapel Gallery, London; Photography in Britain since 2000, Krakow; Cocker Spaniel and Other Tools for International Understanding, Kunsthalle zu Kiel; Becoming Animal, Becoming Human, NGBK, Berlin; New Works, National Media Museum, Bradford; and The Refusal, Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Source: Jo Longhurst’s website
For several years, Jo Longhurst has been photographing British whippets by bloodline, working with top breeders in order to explore the exacting and obsessive quest for the perfect show dog. The shaping of the domestic dog has a history in nineteenth-century eugenics, a movement born out of the invention of the photographic process. The Refusal questions ideas of conformity and difference, breeding and eugenics—the search for perfection. There is a wealth of animal imagery in the history of art, of animals as symbol, metaphor or allegory, yet it is rare that they are represented as themselves. Longhurst challenges this precedent. She explores the intimate relationship between dog and breeder, in which power, control, love and desire are intertwined. As part of her working process, Longhurst employs a variety of photographic technologies that have been used to record human portraits, from state-of the- art to stereoscopic.
Jo Longhurst: Gymnasts and Whippets (Elephant, June 2018)