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The Selects Gallery : Robert Farber : Deterioration Series : The Art of Embrace


During the 1990s, American photographer Robert Farber decided to comb through the photographs he had taken between 1977 and 1984. Rather than finding them as he had remembered them, Farber was met instead with works that had taken on – as he calls it – a “new life” reaching beyond his original artistic vision. The images, which had been sitting in non- archival plastic sleeves for decades, had “deteriorated” through a chemical reaction,

Farber allowed the process to continue and monitored it for 30 years. He finally decided to end the deterioration process in 2013 when his abstract exploration of differently-shaped stains and intricate color shifts created striking new imagery that pleased him.

In accepting what other photographers would consider disastrous, Farber centers his work as a timeless celebration of the power of photography. The Deterioration Series is all at once an ode to the inventive European inception of photography, a continuation of the work of famous twentieth-century Americana artists such as Warhol, as well as its own acceptance of the ever- shifting nature of time.

This aging chemical process not only changed the images but reinvented them entirely, creating dynamic works that are both strikingly new and inventive while deeply rooted within the

technical practices of photography’s conception. They resulted in almost phantasmal-like tributes to time, a force which– alongside Farber himself– has without a doubt left its artistic mark upon these photographs.

Marie Audier D’Alessandris


The Selects Gallery


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