Zoe Leonard early photographs of her immediate surroundings in New York were taken in the 1970s, when she was still very young. She was interested in what she saw every day, such as shop windows, museums and shops, but also maps and anatomy drawings. Since then, she has practised photography as a way of documenting modern society and exposing its paradoxes, such as in her photographs of shops in New York and other cities, which reflect on the effects of globalisation. But Leonard also spent time living on her own in Alaska, taking pictures of the not-always-peaceful relationship between nature and civilisation. On a formal level, she rejects the usual conventions of photography, which she sees as a faithful representation of life and the world. She works on her images for a long time, always in black and white, reproduced in different sizes and formats, but never retouched so the accidents that occur during the developing process can be exposed. Besides photography, she also practises video, cinema, theatre and sculptural objects made with everyday materials. In all these disciplines, Leonard is an ardent defender of feminism and social activism with works in which the social and ideological dimension is powerfully reflected on her images of the everyday world.

Although the artist has been exhibiting since the 1970s, her work acquired international reputation after she was included in Documenta IX, 1992, and especially Documenta XII, 2007. In 2008 she had an exhibition at the Hispanic Society of New York, commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation. Since then, she has exhibited widely in numerous places around the world, such as New York, Ghent, Cologne, San Francisco, Kassel, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Seoul, Munich, Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, Jerusalem and Sydney, among others

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