Image enlarged, identity lost
Hundreds of faces gaze down from the walls of Olin Art Gallery in Mauro Altamura's new exhibit. But its bleak title aptly suggests the dehumanizing effect of the piece: "Anonymous." Despite the fact that each eleven-by-fourteen-inch, black-and-white print depicts a separate face, few emerge as individuals. Altamura has rephotographed faces that appeared in newspapers, then enlarged the resulting images, which are massed in a patchwork grid that covers the walls of the gallery, six rows high. All individuality disappears. In fact, the closer the viewer approaches, the less detail is discernible, lost in the blurry, half-tone dot pattern of newsprint reproductions.
Altamura will discuss his work in a lecture in Olin Auditorium on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a reception in the gallery.
In the statement accompanying the exhibit, Olin Gallery Director Daniel Younger writes that Altamura "explores the loss of personal and political agency in our time, and the power of photographs to indiscriminately capture subjects, divesting them of their identity." The New Jersey artist is concerned with "the promiscuous nature of media and surveillance-generated images-their ubiquity and fleeting indeterminacy once they are broadcast or published."
"Anonymous" and an accompanying video installation, "TV Surveillance," will continue at the gallery through October 28.