"My acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change. These photographs are not so much about this process as they are remnants from it. My participation was not so much one of intellectual consideration as one of visceral involvement." (© John DIVOLA)
About the American photographer John DIVOLA (b.1949, in Los Angeles)
John DIVOLA received in 1971 a BA from California State University, Northridge and an MA from the University of California, Los Angeles (1973). He works primarily with photography and digital imaging. While he has approached a broad range of subjects he is currently moving through the landscape looking for the oscillating edge between the abstract and the specific.
Photo books by John DIVOLA
- 'Gallery Min' (1987)
'Isolated Houses' (2001)
'Dogs Chasing my Car in the Desert' (2004);
'Three Acts. Vandalism, Los Angeles International Airport Noise Abatement Zone, Zuma' (2006, co- edited by David Campany)
'Seven Dogs' (2007)
'As far as I could get' (2008)
'LAX NAZ' (2012, 'Six by Six'-Set #3, with titles by William CHRISTENBERRRY, Eduardo del VALLE, Daido MORIYAMA, Karin Apollonia MÜLLER and Carrie M. WEEMS))
'San Fernando Valley' (2014)
'Chroma' (2020, with a transcription of an interview between him and David Campany)
'Scapes' (2022, with an essay by David Campany)
Solo exhibitions or with another artist
- 2022: 'John Divola', Yancy Richardson Gallery, New York City
2022: 'John Divola & Frederick Sommer', Heroes Gallery, New York City
2022: 'Blue with Exceptions', AF Projects, Los Angeles
Group exhibitions (a selection)
- 2022: 'The Constructed Photograph', Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara
2022: 'Nocturnal', Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA & at Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
2022: 'Blow Up', Saint George Street Gallery, London
2022: 'The Intimancy of Distance', Marshall Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2022: 'Considered Interactions', Casemore Kirkeby Gallery, San Francisco
- 2023: 'Lonesome Crowded West: Works From MOCA's Collection', MOCA, Los Angeles
2023: 'A History of Photography: Selections From the Museums Collection', The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Details on photographic projects by John DIVOLA
In 'Zuma' project, John DIVOLA has described being interested in the relation between real artworks and representations of them, and the issues of the natural and the artificial. 'I attempted ... to develop a practice in which there could be no distinction between the document and the original.' (John DIVOLA) In his series of photographs from 1977, he used deserted houses on Zuma Beach and covered their walls in graffiti. He photographed the ocean from the house's interior through windows and cracks. 'On initially arriving I would move through the house looking for areas or situations to photograph. If nothing seemed to interest me I would move things around or do some spray painting. The painting was done in much the same way that one might doodle on a piece of paper. At that point I would return to the camera and explore what ever new potentials existed.' (John DIVOLA) These cyclical images skillfully juxtapose romantic skies and sunsets with a seaside structure that, frame by frame, deteriorates into ruin as it is vandalized by the artist and others who eventually set it on fire. His works trace a schematic desire for escape, movement and transcendence.
The project 'Dogs chasing my car in the desert' shows images of dogs in the desert captured in the midst of running wildly after the car. Emphasising the grain of the image, these black and white photographs capture a haunting moment in which there is a duality between a sense of absence and presence. The behaviour of the dogs suggest a lack of previous stimuli, a loneliness at the same time as an all-consuming reaction to the now, a presence. 'It could be viewed as a visceral and kinetic dance. Here we have two vectors and velocities, that of a dog and that of a car and, seeing that a camera will never capture reality and that a dog will never catch a car, evidence of devotion to a hopeless enterprise'. (John DIVOLA)
In the 'Dark Star' series, dark circles have been painted on the walls of an abandoned house. Creation and destruction are held in a delicate equilibrium, the white rooms of the house, are tattered and derelict. The domestic ruins suggest social collapse, secret renditions of something darkly sinister illuminating our conflicted recent history, updating 'Zuma' and "'Vandalism' for our age of foreclosure.
In 'As Far As I Can Get', he made photographs by pushing the self-timer button on his camera. An exposure is made in 10 seconds.