May 14th 2010

The work of Chicago photographer Joseph Mohan in his exhibition titled You Can Do It Your Own Way (If It’s Done Just How I Say). For this show, Mohan will be displaying photographs, sculpture and video works that address the progression of creative production/control from the 1980’s up to today. Mohan utilizes the language and structures of his professional career as a freelance photographer and photography editor to recontextualize and question creative influence, authorship, and originality.

The first part of the exhibition, titled Scenes from Kill ‘Em All: Since the Dawn of Thrash Metal, documents the aftermath and influence of Thrash Metal icons Metallica on Mohan’s generation. Born in 1981, Mohan is particularly interested in his generation’s creative production and consumption; he uses Metallica as a point of examination, or a common denominator, for the viewer to approach his works and reflect on these ideas. The 1980‘s generation was the first to adopt MP3’s and filesharing, and Metallica was the first famous band to stand in tone deaf opposition to that while they boasted an “opposition” to mainstream music culture. Despite these set-backs, everyone has some early experience and impression of Metallica that Mohan smartly portrays. The photographs are used as a means to transport the viewer back to their nostalgia towards the creative period of the 1980’s, the evolution of that creative exchange through the 1990’s, and the current state of affairs in 2010.

The second part of Mohan’s exhibition, I Own These Works You Assholes, is concerned with ownership rights, authorship, and derivative creation. Driven by frustration stemming from a professional assignment, Mohan had a first-hand experience with the loss of creative control. In this body of work, based on losing ownership to his photographs, Mohan comments on the legal basis of authorship. A direct result of the evolution of creative originality in our time, this exhibit stands as a stunning example to what Mohan explores in Scenes from Kill ‘Em All: Since the Dawn of Thrash Metal. Where Mohan’s mentality stems from his initial love towards the seductive, reactionary power of Thrash Metal, and as he saw his icons oppose the free, revolutionary exchange of their ideas in the 1990’s, it is of no surprise to find his photographs stolen from him in 2010.

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