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Contemporary art

Western art


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Sculptures involuntaires

printed 2008


Shannon Ebner

United States of America

1971 -


Shannon Ebner was educated at Bard College, NY and Yale University graduating MFA in 2000. She has lived and worked in Los Angeles for 7 years. She held a solo exhibition at PSI New York in 2007, in 2008 she will be represented in the Whitney Biennale and LA County Museum of Art will publish a book of her work. Ebner teaches at USC Roski.

Shannon Ebner’s photographs consistently involve a visceral experience with language, as well as an economy of materials linking her to the conceptual practice of Ed Ruscha and Bruce Nauman. Words and signs are treated as physical entities, subject to destruction and decay. Her laconic style and fascination with palindromes links her to the traditions which appear in both visual and literary forms in the U.S. All of her work deals in one way and another with the nature of politics and monuments. Lisa Turvey wrote in ‘Aperture #188’, 2007: ‘Ebner knows that words and photographs convey temporary, and often false realities…’ so her constant recontextualising of image and sign is not only a way of acknowledging the decay of meaning but also taking hold of meaning and reaffirming its power as a constructive force.

‘Sculpture involuntaires’ refers to Brassaï’s 1933 photo-essay on the photography of debris and graffiti. Ebner’s construction (a pew? a coffin?) in a desolate landscape contains the letters used in her earlier works. This particular piece refers particularly to the problems of aesthetics and history and to her struggles with these.



printed 2008

Media category


Materials used

type C photograph




122.5 x 157.3 cm image; 123.0 x 157.5 cm sheet; 126.1 x 160.2 x 5.9 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed label l.r. verso frame, black pen "SEbner". Not dated.


Gift of Geoff and Vicki Ainsworth 2008


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Shannon Ebner

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


F. Stocchi, Artforum, 'Critics' picks', Mar 2007, (illus.).