Saturday, May 12, 2012


Do-ho Suh, Who Am We? 1996/2001 [Images via.]

I first saw this piece at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston ten years ago. It consists of 40,000 yearbook photographs and was printed on 25 sheets of 4-color wall paper. It changes radically with distance away from the wall.

From the artist: "I reduced the scale of the portraits as far as I could because I wanted to find out the exact point at which both the human eye and technology could identify individual traits. In the title I wanted to underline the distinction between singular and plural. In the Korean language, there is no such distinction." 

Takashi Murakami, 2002

Brian Forrest took this photograph of Murakami's retrospective at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in 2007. This (and the Louis Vuitton store within the exhibition) was the most memorable work in the entire show. I didn't care much for the paintings on top of the wallpaper but could look at the background all day long.

Penelope Umbrico, Detail of 4,335,921 Suns from Flickr, 2008 [via]

Penelope Umbrico, Suns from Sunsets from Flickr, 2006-ongoing

While Umbrico's suns are not exactly wallpaper, the method in which they are installed resembles it. The most recent exhibition numbered 8,730,221 Suns from Flickr (Partial) 02/20/11.

From Umbrico's website: "This is a project I started when I found 541,795 pictures of sunsets searching the word “sunset” on the image hosting website, Flickr. I cropped just the suns from these pictures and uploaded them to Kodak, making 4" x 6" machine prints from them. For each installation, the title reflects the number of hits I got searching "sunset" on Flickr on the day I made/print the piece – for example, the title of the piece for the Gallery of Modern Art, Australia, was 2,303,057 Suns From Flickr (Partial) 9/25/07 and for the New York Photo Festival it was 3,221,717 Suns From Flickr (Partial) 3/31/08 - the title itself becoming a comment on the ever increasing use of web-based photo communities, and a reflection of the ubiquity of pre-scripted collective content there."

Whenever I think of transforming the cat scrapbook into wallpaper, these three artists come to mind. Today, as I figure out the scale and method of placing the pages together, I keep coming back to the sheer mass that each of the above examples provides. There isn't any breathing space between the parts and it is all seen as one continuous flow from a distance. My problem is that there are so many details in the cat scrapbook that I want the audience to see, shrinking the individual pages would not assist in understanding the contents and chronology of the book. Where is my fine line between too large and too small? That is a question I hope to answer very soon.

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