Andrew Witt: John Divolas post-apokalyptiske landskap

Velkommen til torsdagsforedrag med den britiske kunsthistorikeren Andrew Witt!

I dette foredraget skal Witt fortelle om hvordan John Divolas fotografiske serier fra 1970-tallet som MGM Lot og Zuma er direkte inspirert av datidens sci-fi scenografi av apokalyptiske landskap. Serien Zuma (1977-79) kan sees i utstillingen Los Angeles – A Fiction.

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There is a series of photographs shot between 1979 and 1980 by Los Angeles photographer John Divola of New York City pictured from the perspective of the near-future. This particular ‘New York’ is a New York constructed, imagined and fabricated on the sprawling backlot of MGM Studios in Culver City, Los Angeles. Divola’s ‘New York’ is a Californian New York. The backlot was modeled after New York City during its fiscal crisis of the early 1970s, but was also constructed and used for a number of post-apocalyptic films situated in the imagined future. The films Soylent Green (1973) and The Ultimate Warrior (1975) envision New York through the lens of scarcity: a future where the entire city and all of its resources have been exhausted.

Months before Divola embarked on his photographs of the MGM backlot, Divola completed Zuma (1977-78), a series of photographs shot within an abandoned beach-front property on Zuma Beach, Malibu. Divola’s series reworked an earlier project, Vandalism (1974-75), where the artist, without access to a studio, spray-painted and later photographed a collection of swirls, dots, and lines within a group of abandoned Los Angeles interiors. For Zuma, Divola photographed the interior in the late evenings and early mornings with a low-powered flash. In Divola’s series, the axial light of the camera is placed in contrast to the low angled, petrochemical light of a Los Angeles sunset. Structurally, the house appears as if it were afloat, catastrophically, drifting unmoored on an apocalyptic sea.

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