The History of Photography Remix

Kota Ezawa German

Not on view

Ezawa’s animations are drawings made by hand on the computer—a labor-intensive process that is like an updated version of the “handmade readymade” technique used by Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein in his comic-book paintings. Best known for spellbinding animated 16mm films based on events embedded in the collective unconscious such as the O. J. Simpson verdict or the assassinations of Kennedy and Lincoln (the latter derived from D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation), the artist has also created his own shadow version of the history of photography in the form of a 35mm slide show comprising forty images that is like the dream of a drowsy art-history student dozing in a darkened lecture hall. In an era when the traditional recording mediums of film and photography are giving way to their virtual successors, Ezawa plays with the now deeply hardwired pleasure we take in experiencing the world secondhand through forms of mechanical reproduction. His cartoonish, slightly funky sense of line and palette reminds the viewer that what is shared in a culture of images is the illusion of cohesion and meaning, and the quirkiness of his individualized handiwork reminds the viewer that there is no image, however familiar, from “out there” that is not also a highly personalized, idiosyncratically experienced image “in here.”

The History of Photography Remix, Kota Ezawa (German, born 1969), 35mm chromogenic slide projection

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Installation view, Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960 (2008)