Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alleys & Ruins

Last Friday I travelled over to 18th and Halsted for the second Friday art walk. Before even entering a studio or gallery, I was confronted with the photographs of Xavier Nuez. His large-scale photographs of alleys and ruins from cities around the country, occupy many of the abandoned storefronts. These photos have a great presence on this street because of the juxtaposition they create. The photos glorify the decay of urban places while the neighborhood is in the process of trying to rebuild. Together, the elements create a romantic dialogue about the lives of cities.

            After looking around in a few galleries and studios, I made my way to Xavier’s studio on the fourth floor of 1932 S. Halsted. Looking at the photographs and talking to the artist made me appreciate them even more. All his photographs are taken at night with extremely long exposures and he lights them by walking around the picture frame holding lights. He wears all black and the exposure is long enough that the photo captures the light but not him. It is as if he is creating a painting with light. The resulting photographs contain colors even more vivid than what could be seen in the light of day.  
Xavier with one of his photographs

Miami Stadium

St. Louis Bridge

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