John Shimon and Julie Lindermann have spent the past thirty years together as collaborative artists, teachers, and partners. In their recent series Decay Utopia Decay, they employ self-portraiture to reflect on the passing of time and the fragility of human existence. Using an ultra-large-format hand-built camera and historical photographic processes, they documented themselves performing daily chores on their organic farm in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Although the project was driven by a shared “desperation to create a paradise and record its existence,” the resulting portraits present a situation that falls short of the utopian ideal: dressed in thrift store costumes, the artists battle against an uncontrollable plant world, broken-down farm equipment, and swarms of wasps and mosquitos. In confronting the endless cycle of erosion, decay, and renewal on their farm, Shimon and Lindemann also face the inevitable degeneration of their own bodies.
J. Shimon & J. Lindemann