In 1921, Hermann Rorschach invented the inkblot cards that became the eponymous Rorschach test. He used a set of 10 symmetrical abstract inkblots to study psychological interpretation, imagination, thought patterns and the subconscious. Like staring up at clouds on a sunny day, the shapes of the inkblot cards suggested recognizable shapes, revealing insights into our state of mind. What do you see here? And here? Rorschach recorded his methods and the 10 diagnostic images in his book Psychodiagnostik a year before his death in 1922. According the Scientific American, Ink Blot Tests were one of variety Ellis Island intelligence tests used in 1915.
Nearly a century later in New York City, Davis looks out of her studio across the water at the Statue of Liberty. Torch in hand since 1886 (2 years after Rorschach himself was born), Lady Liberty has long represented the great American dream, an icon of enlightenment, of freedom, of peace and of safe harbour. In Fotopsychodiagnostik, Davis explores a new geo-political landscape outside her window. Twisting Rorschach’s test, she photographs the view from her studio and mirrors the image on both its vertical and horizontal axis. From her window on the water in Red Hook, directly facing the Statue of Liberty, the landscape is a symbolic one; here manipulated, reflected, doubled, and warped into an image that projects the complexity of our current geopolitical landscape.
Her work sheds light on the fundamental epistemological questions of our time, where knowledge is continuously diffused, reproduced and diversified through an impenetrable web on information and communication. Moving between photography, sculpture, film and collage, Davis’ artistic practice resists categorization, maintaining a consistent methodology and exploratory material process.