Marisa J. Futernick
(american, b. 1980)
Always combining photography with fictional narrative and a very strong sense of documenting socio-political and cultural history, Marisa's work evokes a sense for an American by-gone era, which nevertheless survives under the surface throughout the country.
Through her work, Marisa looks at the failed promise of the American Dream, intertwining the personal with the historical and fact with fiction, often through the act of searching for something or someplace lost or inaccessible. Issues of class, progress and real estate are also central to her practice. She uses a variety of media including photography, writing, video, and painting, with the combination of text and image a regular feature throughout her work.
Futernick is consumed by an ongoing obsession with the past, specifically the post-war period of her parents’ generation, and how it has affected her own lifetime and the present. She is American, but has lived in London for over a decade, during which time her work has become more and more about America – the longer she has been away from her country, the more deeply she has understood and engaged with it.
In November 2016, on US Election Day, Marisa launched her latest artist's book, 13 Presidents at the ICA in London. This book is the culmination of a cross-country road trip that Marisa undertook to visit all 13 presidential libraries in the US. Mixing historical fact with fictional projection, the writings cast presidents from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush as characters. The accompanying photographs are shot on analogue film, making them difficult to date, and bringing everyday details of the presidents’ lives—from their hometowns and childhoods to their final resting places—into the consciousness of the present day. Like her texts, Futernick’s images combine to create American portraits that are as historically unreliable as they are culturally true.
Arnolfini, Bristol, presented an exhibition and event as part of the project. Marisa also held various events at the British Library and University College London, as well as Harvard University, Boston MA.
Marisa was a recipient of the Deutsche Bank Award in Art for this project, and it was also recently shortlisted for the BarTur Photobook Award from The Photographers' Gallery, London.
Marisa studied at Yale University, receiving a BA in 2002. Since then she has lived and worked in London, and received a postgraduate diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2014.