The “Memory Palace” is a Greco-Roman technique that prompts its user to remember by populating imagined architectures with a sequential path of memories. By coupling physical and psychological structure, this subjective apparatus turns recollections, impressions and remembrances into the bricks and mortar of a mental dwelling. As one subsequently walks the mind through this fictive floorplan, he/she theoretically reconnects floating parcels into a single, unified tapestry. In practice, such passage reveals the dramatic renovation human memory performs upon history – transforming past events into personal narratives.
On the occasion of the CAC’s 75thanniversary this exhibition will present memory as soft, malleable clay. Rather than galvanizing history or renewing the supposed fixity of facts, Memory Palace will instead revel in remembering as a creative act: highlighting the way our recollections shift actual histories into imperfect, but quintessentially human legacies.
I have always viewed the camera as a tool to express my vision, and experimented widely teaching myself how to use it, rather than taking formal classes on how to make photographs. Nourishment for my photography has come from looking at paintings and other works of art, studying details in nature – light, shadow and space – and trying to catch people expressing their individual feelings and needs, which often turn out to be universal. Cultivating my capacities to see and feel, and then to express what I see and feel in terms of color and light underpins my photography. I did not come to consider myself a professional photographer – neither exhibiting nor selling pictures – until quite late in life.
The Swiss-born, Berlin-based duo Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (both b. 1979) respond with humor and wit to various traditions of modernist architecture, documentary photography and the heroic travelogue. By pecking at such constructions, the artists reveal a more whimsical, ironic, and subjective vision of the structures and technologies that shape the way we see and live. Their work simultaneously explores the subject of artistic collaboration, as well as the expansion of photography as an artistic medium. Though much of Onorato & Krebs’ practice is photographic, the artists’ engagement with other media—film, sculpture, sound —sheds the artifice of objectivity and documentation to revel in reconstructions of the world around us.
This is the first major museum exhibition for Onorato and Krebs in the United States, and will collect a variety of eclectic, but interrelated bodies of work. The Great Unreal turns photographs taken on road trips in the U.S. (between 2005 and 2008) into the platform and playground for surreal satire. They returned to this format in 2013 during travels through Central Asia, producing an equally fantastic take on the lived experience of mapmaking. For the Constructions series (2009-2012), the artists photographed Berlin buildings in perspective and extended their contours with strategically placed wooden armatures. Further employing the camera’s eye to suggest alternative ways of seeing, the Spins series turns found materials and extreme camera angles into a psychedelic vision of the everyday.