Detail: Kota Ezawa
In his body of work The History of Photography Remix, artist Kota Ezawa created digital drawings of iconic photographs, family snapshots, and other images flooding contemporary life. He transcribed each picture into simplified shapes of flat color. In doing so, Ezawa evokes the source image just enough to trigger its recollection. The “remixed” photograph, presented as a backlit transparency, stands on its own as a new artwork. Its mix of past and present, public and private, embodies the way pictorial meanings proliferate in today’s visual culture. Ezawa acknowledges this phenomenon as a personal one. Each person’s mind acts as an involuntary archivist, pausing over particularly resonant images as it shapes understanding of the world.
One image that Ezawa’s mind archived is Nan Goldin’s frequently reproduced photograph Nan and Brian in Bed from her 35mm slide show, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. A photographic print of that image has been in the Eastman Museum’s collection since 1988, shortly after Goldin emerged as a leading practitioner of a new, autobiographical approach to documentary photography. Ezawa’s reference to Goldin’s image is a prime example of how new generations of artists continually refresh museum collections.
This presentation complements Deborah Ronnen Fine Art’s exhibition Kota Ezawa: Taking a Knee, on display September 26–November 7 at R1 Studios, 1328b University Avenue.
Artist's Talk: Kota Ezawa
Kota Ezawa on The History of Photography Remix
Created by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.