Void is a collaboration between MAPAa and multidisciplinary artist Ira Lombardia (www.iralombardia.com) for the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, USA.
It consists of building a physical frame, a temporary stage for social (media) interaction, for one of the art installations to be shown as part of the artist’s first solo exhibition in the US.
This ephemeral construction digs into Lombardia’s current practice that emerges out of photography’s expanded field to focus on the transformation of the postmodern paradigm in relation to the digital visual culture. In particular, she reflects on the impact and value of photographic art documentation and how those images are produced, distributed, and consumed, to grasp how these fluctuations affect the meanings and ideologies hidden behind images and define our idea of art.
The architectural proposal echos Lombardia’s work as “visual ecologist” and builds on her use of appropriation to construct meanings that can arouse in between groups of images to unveil unexpected links, connections, conflicts and contradictions.
Year: 2020-21 / Location: Savannah, Georgia / Program: Art Installation / Type: Comission
Status: Built / Client: SCAD Museum of Art / Size: 315sf / Photography: SCAD Museum of Art
This work references Yves Klein’s Leap Into the Void (1960), which Lombardía finds to be an apt metaphor for her experience as an artist: looking, experiencing, flying, and falling. In October 1960, Klein hired Harry Shunk and János (Jean) Kender to make a photograph in which Klein “re-created” a jump from a second-floor window that he claimed to have executed earlier that year. This second leap was made from a rooftop in the Paris suburb of Fontenay-aux-Roses. In the resulting image, Klein appears to free fall onto the street below. In reality, however, a group of the artist’s friends held a tarpaulin to catch him. To produce this illusion, two negatives — one showing Klein leaping, the other showing the surrounding scene (without the onlookers and tarp) — were merged during printing to create a seamless “documentary” photograph, a precursory method that anticipated Photoshop decades before its development. Klein then created a fake newspaper, Dimanche – Le Journal d’un Seul, to distribute the image to the public at Parisian newsstands. Influenced by Klein, as well as Alan Kaprow’s Happenings, the work of Argentinian artist Oscar Masotta, and Yoko Ono’s FLUXUS-inspired scores, Lombardía is engaged in questioning the role of the artist, the power of photography, and the transformation of objects into images and vice versa. With Void, she invites visitors to participate in the creative process,orchestrating an experience that encourages the sharing of images through social networks, ultimately blurring the lines between art documentation and self-presentation as powerful modes of representation. Some museums try to regulate photography, and visitors are often not allowed to take photos in the galleries. Here, however, visitors are encouraged to take photos, as their participation is necessary for Void to be fully realized, just as collaboration and social relationships are needed for any creative act. Lombardía explains, “Our challenge now is to explore the new photographic uses that have arisen thanks to digital photography, the internet, and social networks. We cannot ignore the impact that these new practices have on all aspects of our lives, including art. The rules of the game have changed and they are here to stay; as an artist I feel a responsibility to study the past in order to be able to work on the conflicts of the present. The idea of aura or even index is obsolete, and that leaves a theoretical vacuum. For the first time, photography has gained ground over the textual, and images are ahead of theory.”
Curator, SCAD Museum of Art