Yvonne Todd

Homage to Dr Spackman

2004
C-type print, edition 1/3
440mm x 305mm

signed Yvonne Todd, dated 15 April 2004 and inscribed Homage to Dr. Spackman and 1/3 in ink verso. Weight-loss pill affixed verso.

Provenance

Private collection, Auckland.

Exhibitions

Yvonne Todd: 11 Colour Plates, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, 2004.

Another from the edition included in Yvonne Todd: Creamy Psychology, City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 6 December, 2014–15 March, 2015.

Literature

Todd, Yvonne, Robert Leonard, Claire Regnault, Anthony Byrt, Megan Dunn, and Misha Kavka. Creamy Psychology. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2014.

Essay

A shrine to a diet-doctor: seven black memento mori candles, their wax partially melted then congealed. Stretched into strange, disfigured elegance by their reflections...

Read full text
Estimate $3,000 - $4,000
Achieved $3,517.50

Yvonne Todd

Homage to Dr Spackman

2004

C-type print, edition 1/3

signed Yvonne Todd, dated 15 April 2004 and inscribed Homage to Dr. Spackman and 1/3 in ink verso. Weight-loss pill affixed verso.

440mm x 305mm

Auction N˚2

Estimate $3,000 - $4,000

Achieved $3,517.50

Homage to Dr Spackman

by Pippa Milne

A shrine to a diet-doctor: seven black memento mori candles, their wax partially melted then congealed. Stretched into strange, disfigured elegance by their reflections, they sit on an infinite, impossible mirror. One perfect, untaken pill—a diet pill. An elixir. A release.

There are only a handful of still life photos in Todd’s oeuvre. She is, of course, known for her portraits. But in some sense, each and every work she makes is a still life.

Todd always works with props, whether they are candles, asthma inhalers, Victorian dressing gowns, or young, motionless and inexperienced models. With her medium-format camera equipment, Todd captures slow, composed scenes in what seems like the claustrophobic air of an advertising studio, arranging her props into still lifes, which in turn become portraits, biographies and personalities. As such, Homage to Dr Spackman is perhaps as much a portrait as any of her works; the only prop it lacks is a living model.

Todd’s capacity to photograph objects in this way—deadpan, staid, immaculate and carefully imbalanced—is thanks to her commercial training during the 90s. She studied at Unitec in Auckland before taking her BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts, and has retained elements of this initial discipline while pushing resolutely through the banality of advertising into something far more unsettling. There is always something in her works that is not quite right.

It is not overt, never an orgy of wrongness nor a horror show of certain shock. Todd’s capacity to harness the cruicial punctum of a photograph is manifested in the slight slippage of some aspect of an otherwise perfect veneer. It might be the teeth, false and unwieldy in a pleasantly smooth young mouth, an ill-fitting wig, or a pallor or expression that doesn’t sit right. Afflicted with delicate disorders, Todd’s subjects seem to cradle their malaise quietly, under the glossy surfaces of meticulous C-type prints.