RePurposing: Photographs Reborn
On September 26th I attended the opening of Henry Chung and Adam Laskowitz's exhibit RePurposing at HERE arts on 145 6th Avenue. The artists have applied new meaning to images that would otherwise carry an unknown fate; most likely to be left in places like basements, attics, shoe boxes, or the trash.
It seems as if more and more artists today are using materials of excess and abandonment to create new and original works of their own. RePurposing displays digitally altered old photographs purchased at thrift stores, garage sales, and found in various places. The artists have blown up the images to life size. Filled with a remarkable air of sadness; the black and white reproductions wipe out most minute details, leaving subjects silhouettes and shadows.
The images consist of mostly family photos. One can imagine settings like a backyard barbeque, a baptismal party, or wedding. One piece that moved me was of a girl at the beach. She looks happy, young, and beautiful. What stands out, though, is the reality of the image once existing as a real and present moment, and now is not.
Quite literally, the original physical images were forgotten and discarded, and in these colorless recreations the viewer can feel the loneliness pouring off the paper, see the agony of the reality of growing old, and imagine the legacies of family names draining away with time like water down a hillside. Ironically, RePurposing gives life to photographs which were once at death's door, but it leaves you thinking about the passing of time, and the nature of abandoning special moments in your past.
The exhibit runs until October 26th, 2013.
Text by Carlos Fonts