Installation Views (Mainsite Contemporary Art), 2012
Series of 9 JPEGs, Dimensions Variable, NFS
Sherwin Rivera Tibayan
After viewing many gallery and artist sites over the last few years, I became interested in the common photographic practice of installation views. These installation views (also called exhibition views) exist strictly as a class of images that provide proof for the material reality of specific works. Although this kind of photography is largely architectural and documentary in nature, I began to wonder if an alternative treatment of such installation views could occupy a discursive space beyond the mere photographic evidence of artistic production.
With that in mind, I downloaded and collected images of installation views from artists whose own works deal with issues of photographic and institutional space and presentation. I wanted to create a layered viewing experience that began by emphasizing the distinct but uniform environments that housed the works of art, rather than the works themselves.
Over the course of several days at Mainsite Contemporary, I arranged and produced a translated version of these installation views as taped constructions. Using blue painter’s tape as the material framework for each photographic translation, I engaged in a reductive process that delineated only the architectural features in the source images. After photographing my own installation views of the finished works, I removed the tape completely, ensuring that the resulting exhibition could only be experienced indirectly. Finally—and in a gesture related to the tape’s outlining of specific physical spaces—I added a blue color cast in post-production to serve as a visual cue, re-situating the entire image as the site of negotiation.
This series of nine photographs only exist online and are presented via a simple post on the gallery’s past exhibition archive. In doing so, the images and their manner of presentation attempt to function simultaneously as both the work and its documentation, speculating on the changing nature of our encounter with the material and representational powers of contemporary art and the values attributed to their online counterparts.