The Armory Show

New York

03.03.16 – 06.03.16
with Raphael Hefti

Pier 94 - Armory Presents
Booth #747

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"...Bursts of pink, purple, pale violet, the photogram’s ‘image’ a kind of abstraction that we often describe as celes­tial – comets burning out, say, or black holes framed by stars. (Note here we reach for a metaphor to describe the very event being ‘photographed’: spores burned into another material, photo paper, as an image.) For this Lycopodium (2014) series, the pho­tograms were made in pitch dark as Hefti lit the flammable moss spores of the titular powder – regularly used in fireworks and explosives, as well as for the coating of pharmaceuticals – over entire rolls of colour photosensitive paper. Lycopodium in parti­cular strikes a nearly perfect history for Hefti to draw from: in the early 19th century, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used the powder to fuel the first internal combustion engine; later he invented photography (View from the Window at Le Gras, from 1826, is his). But Hefti’s Lycopodium images also suggest something else: a collusion of postwar gestural colour field painting and recent abstract photography, aesthetic registers well understood by a contemporary art audience. Part of the strangeness of the artist’s work lies in this: our familiarity with the (high art, creative) aesthetic forms he creates, and our unfamiliarity with the (quotidian, industrial) material processes he uses to achieve them."

Exerpt from "The Alchemist" by Quinn Latimer, Frieze, Issue 19, 2015

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