Galerie Miranda is very proud to present the exhibition La poussière des anges by San Francisco-based artist John Chiara (b. 1971), the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery and the first European exhibition of this new body of work.
In 2019, John Chiara was artist in residence at the Budapest Art Factory in Hungary, where he spent time photographing Angyalföld , the city neighborhood whose name translates into English as ‘the dust of angels, into French as ‘La poussière des anges’ . Working with negative photographic paper, he created images there that capture the city’s particular urban mix of history and modernity, with residential and industrial architecture of different periods punctuated by advertising billboards, electrical cables but also many trees. In a poetic echo of the district name ‘angel dust’, the city’s bright blue skies become in their negative incarnation a fiery orange-black, creating a nocturnal, dreamlike landscape inhabited by ghostly forms.
John Chiara is a landscape photographer whose art is grounded in the physical process of the medium. “The subject of my work is photography itself,” says Chiara. “…(and) its manifestation through its means.” Chiara often chooses deliberately nondescript places to photograph, in urban, rural or semi-rural places, seeking what he calls “in-between spaces…the type of places you would normally walk past without paying much attention”.
Chiara’s giant cameras, which he designs and builds himself, are transported to locations on a flatbed trailer to produce one-of-a-kind large-scale prints. The design of the cameras allows the artist to simultaneously shoot and perform his darkroom work while images are recorded directly onto oversized photosensitive paper. The camera’s very large size and 18th century technology force part of his process beyond his control and, through the barrel lens, images are projected directly onto the scroll of photographic paper fixed inside the camera ‘chamber’. During exposure, Chiara manually burns, dodges and filters the light entering through the lens, working to change the temperature of light and spectrum of color as if in the darkroom. Every work he thus produces, is unique.
The exhibition at Galerie Miranda includes several positive landscapes by Chiara that situate the negative work produced in Angyalföld : as the image is received onto negative paper, light and shadow are reversed, as are the colors, creating a surreal vision of architectural juxtapositions in an unexpected palette. It seems that “All that is solid melts into air”1 : Chiara’s lacey, translucent trees and glassy buildings against a permanent night sky are a fitting tribute to the shifting history of this country still emerging from communist rule, and currently a populist battleground between tradition and modernity.
Exhibition produced in friendly collaboration with ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica.
La poussière des anges by John Chiara
6 November 2020 – 6 February 2021
21 rue du Château d’Eau
75010 Paris FRANCE
Tuesday-Friday 14:00 – 19:00 / Saturday 12:00-19:00
EXTRA SUNDAY OPENING FOR CHRISTMAS
11am-5pm from 29/11 to 20/12/20
or by appointment
1 BERMAN, Marshall, All that is solid melts into air: the experience of modernity (1982, Penguin Books: New York)
21 rue du Château d'Eau 75010 Paris France
November 06, 2020 to February 06, 2021