July 2, 2014

Digital Arts Exhibit

If you have an opportunity, please visit the Stuart Larson exhibit at the Fine Arts Gallery. His digital works will be on display until Tuesday, July 8:

These photographs were created from floor tiles in the 4th floor stairwell at Klatovská Boulevard 19, a once-forgotten apartment building in Plzen, Czech Republic. This building has a rich history, and the forces that combined to make these images are many.

Built in 1931 by the famous Architect, Adolph Loos, Klatovská Boulevard 19 was once a shining example of Architectural Modernism. Although crumbling, Klatovská Boulevard 19, is currently under restoration by the Architecture department at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen, Czech Republic.

Nazis took the first toll on the building when they appropriated it for officer barracks. Then the communists took another toll when they segmented each floor into many tiny apartments. Twenty years of neglect took its toll when Czechoslovakia was dissolved and the building was abandoned. And finally the last toll has been the restoration process itself.

I have always been fascinated by image generative systems and chance operations. These images conjure the process of Marcel Duchamp, particularly his piece “Unhappy Readymade”, where he hung a geometry textbook outside as canvas to be painted on and sculpted by nature. Similarly, these tiles were also created through chance operations. Every scar, scrape, spill, and stain became the marks that you now see here.

For me, these marks are the passing of time. They are days, months, years, and decades made visual. In one respect they are the same. In another, each is completely different. Like days, more you notice, the more different they become. As with the passage of time, I have left these without titles, they are not even “untitled”. This choice is in reverence to the inability of words to describe the weight of lives that these tiles (days) have held.

The images here, like so many nameless and forgotten moments pass silently. If you are still enough, you can feel Klatovská Boulevard 19 reaching out to you. It is our duty to be reflective and pass along a little of the silent respect that it grants us.

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