Refinery & Containers,
India ink and graphite on mylar, 13 x 19.3", 2005
All images © Elise Kaufman, 2005
" Trace and aura. The trace is
appearance of a nearness, however far removed the thing that left
it behind may be. The aura is appearance of a distance, however close
the thing that calls it forth. In the trace, we gain possession of
the thing; in the aura, it takes possession of us."
-Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, transl.
by Howard Eiland & Kevin McLaughlin, Harvard University Press,
1999, p. 447)
What is left and
what remains both figuratively and literally…psychically and
physically when some Thing that was, becomes absent? This new body
of work tracks the process by which the former self of Red Hook, longshoring
/ industrial / waterfront neighborhood, is changing. It's old self
fading, becoming transformed into something new and different. Yet
Benjamin suggests that there is something constant and perpetual that
may be left behind as relic – as witness – as "aura".
Difficult to define, ineluctable, illusive, yet omni-present, the
remains of architecture – whether it is industrial factories
no longer deemed necessary to produce, or architecture which has been
rendered obsolete by the real estate developer's quest, are haunting,
beautiful visual tapestries.
It would be facile to imbue my work with some political spin, although
I suspect that given the current climate that may be an inevitability.
I would, however, prefer, that the audience respond to what I respond
to: a kind of unruly beauty which presents itself to us in surprising
ways – rusting steal, windows and buildings off square, torn
fences within a landscape that is just at sea level. Exposed and vulnerable
to both Nature's elements and the wrecking ball, both the "trace"
and "aura" remain constant reminders of what is and what
once was, documenting, that point in-between.
India ink on mylar, 17 x 13.5", 2005
(detail) Graphite on mylar, Paper size: 113/4 x 14 1/2",
Graphite on mylar, 10 x 38", 2005
View / detail
Image: 5 x 5.5" Paper: 11 x 151/8", 2005