17 October - 29 November 2008
|© Josh Azzarella|
Untitled # 26 (Omaha), 2006
archival digital c-print
20” x 30”
Exhibition Dates: October 17 – November 29, 2008
Opening Reception: October 17, 5-8 PM
Kavi Gupta Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by New York based artist Josh Azzarella.
Josh Azzarella borrows iconic historical imagery and manipulates the contents to reveal an altered view of potent events that have shaped our collective conscience. The images chosen for this exhibition range from serene landscapes wiped of their violent and defining events to scenes taken from more obvious sources, slightly edited, shed of the actions that disrupted our past and continue to influence our lives.
Through the reworking of still images and video footage from historic prize winning journalism, security and news footage made famous by the media, and other documentation of well-known events, a quiet pause is created. Events are erased as ghosts and impressions from one’s memory emerge in an eerie retelling. A black and white image of a distant shoreline is jogged by the point of view from the water leaving one to recollect the famous image of the storming of Omaha Beach or to read the image as a calm landscape. Another quiet black and white landscape presents an empty grassy hill site without the falling soldier.
A similar approach is taken in several video works where this erasure is created frame by frame. A film featuring the unknown rebel during the Tiananmen Square protests presents this well-known footage, but in Azzarella’s version there are no war tanks, no opposition. This footage is especially potent given how the communist party in China so heavily censors the history of this event. Other videos are more ambiguous and seemingly commonplace in comparison such as altered footage of a shaky handheld image of the sky through the trees. One feels the camera is attempting to catch the glimpse of a fleeting object, which could be a UFO, or a bird, but is actual documentation of an airplane that lingered over Washington after the events of September 11th.
Azzarella also slows and obscures video footage through a laborious layering process. The result is an estrangement from the original recognizable event becoming a beautiful, amorphic, and transitory picture that unfolds over minutes instead of seconds. The addition of real-time footage re-emphasizes the questioning of certain events that are usually interpreted through the media filter, often with distorted truth and biased commentary creating more questions and more answers for individuals to assimilate their own construction of the past.
Josh Azzarella (b. 1978, Ohio) lives and works in NY. He has recently had solo exhibitions at DCKT Contemporary, New York and Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA. Azzarella was the recipient of the 2006 Emerging Artist Award and had a solo exhibition from The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Selected group exhibitions include shows at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, Clifford Art Gallery at Colgate University, Catherine Clarke Gallery, San Francisco, Clarke Western Bridge, Seattle, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick NJ.