Downtown Photoroom is pleased to present Central Park: 45 Seconds, an exhibition of new works by Avo Tavitian.
Tavitian’s work is heavily process based. Although, in his four decade career he records hundreds of thousands of images of the world around us, the darkroom serves as the true workshop, where these images take on a new life. Selected images from his diverse catalogue of portraits, documentary photos, architectural studies and unlikely snapshots of the seemingly mundane are worked and reworked, using traditional analog processes. For him, artistic development is taken literally; we trace the steps of the traditional image making process while serious contemporary implications come to light.
In Central Park 45 Seconds, Tavitian presents a series of large photographs depicting New York’s Central Park from a rarely seen, super-scraper vantage. The raw content of each image is the same, but the actual images presented are very different. Each work is subtitled with the length of exposure time used to make the images – beginning with 45 seconds all the way to 10 minutes. The results are a veritable spectrum of experiences in time and space. Although time is the major variable in these works’ production, the pieces (individually and as a series) bring space to the forefront. At the extreme ends of this spectrum, space becomes almost wholly abstracted, harkening the postmodern idea of depthlessness, while the centrist, more traditional images come into focus and appear “as they are.”
As the scope of Tavitian’s oeuvre grows, so does the size of his works, literally. Since late 2013, Tavitian has been working to make some of the largest analog prints available. As film and the analog photography industry continue to disappear, so does the ability have large prints produced. Confronted with this hard reality, the artist undertook building his own darkroom that could handle the size he envisioned for his images. This show will be the debut of these large format, artist produced prints. For Tavitian, not only process, but also materials are paramount to his artistic practice. Silver gelatin prints on fiber rag draw attention to the essential elements of the photograph. Light, chemicals, and paper are the rudiments, while the actual image is auxiliary, so no matter which images Tavitian presents, the exploration of these basics remains constant and critical. This focus on materiality is always supported by the frame structure – in this exhibition, the photograph takes priority, while the support dissolves.