You do not need an artist's statement to present your work to galleries, curators, or collectors. If you have an exhibition and want to post an artist's statement, that is a different thing. It is not necessary, but you could do so. But it is not when you are presenting your work. You should, however, be ready to articulately answer any questions you are asked.
Or do what most people do and write something about what you are showing (unless it is self evident)
I always include a ststement about my work when I exhibit, it helps draw the viewer in and gives them an understanding of the process I went through in creating the show, and no, I don't consider my work that Post Modern as I use many modernist references in what I do.
Besides, I am sure the pictorialists hated the modernists with a vengence....but we digress
Okay, you want to write a statement (though not for presentation, but for exhibition, right?). What should it include?
I believe it should be a statement about your attitude toward what you do; your motivation. The purpose of a statement is to give the viewer a handle on how to approach your work. It might also have a sentence about how this particular body of work fits into your work as a whole. Your statement should not explain the work. The photographs have to speak, or sing, for themselves.
Some examples of what I mean from my own statements. Most of these sentences were parts of longer (but only by a sentence or two) statements.
"I have always believed that is how one sees, not what one sees that makes any photograph interesting." (italics on "how" and "what")
"The challenge, always, is to balance the allure of the subject matter with my own visual concerns and sense of abstraction."
"I use large view cameras because I find looking on the ground glass to be an exhilarating experience. On the ground glass, as I move the camera around, the world comes and goes. flattening itself into pictures. Wondrous transformations often occursmall details can appear as landscapes and vast landscapes are sometimes diminished. On the ground glass everything is potentially equal."
Hopefully, these statements gave the viewer a handle on how to approach the work--to look at it not just as what the photographs are pictures of, but as rhythymic events complete in themselves.
Hope that gives you a handle on how to begin writing your own statements.[/i]
I think this is a difficult area. The statement can (and hopefully, will) "set the stage" for the "experiencer" of the work.
I've read quite a few ... the least desirable, in my humble opinion, are the ones where the artist tries to "pump themselves up", and overdoes- translation: pretentious to the point of being bizarre.
I would suggest: Keep is short, and keep it simple. A bit of mystery might help, and the first principle of poetry - say, or imply, a lot with the fewest possible number of words, can be very effective.
The "shortness" is important. If we try to imagine ourselves in place of the visitor to the gallery, just after they receive the brochure: Open the book, glance at the names, and possibly read the first or second line of the Artist's Statement. Very few will read an extensive volume advertising the *wonderful* achievements of the artist - the unconscious mechanism here is "Oh, yeh? Let me see the work, and I'll decide." Not too good a "preconditioning" for your work.
This is the last statement I wrote:
Ed Sukach - "Born in Beverly, MA, 20 July 1934 - Incurably awestruck and mesmerized by the beauty of the world ever since."
Thanks for that -keep it short and sweet (a la EW) is clearly the way to go. I have had short pieces on my work published in various mags (eg B&W UK) -those should be useful. Luckily thanks to the Univ of Sussex I know what postmodernism is...