The project Halo is inquiring into the problem of appropriation of the aura of the work of art. If I would seriously consider reproducing something as ephemeral as the aura supposedly is, I would conclude it to be impossible. But I believe it is possible to get near to it, or to approximate it, and such goal-directed manipulation can result in the encounter with different - postproduced - art work, keeping its genuine here and now. I decided to select an iconic artifact, a painting, and then to apply a time based medium such as film and video, superimposed with cinematic established optical special effect. The project thus interlinks two cultural patterns: the image and the effect.
I decided to join the crowd of adepts of Art and to quote the iconic artwork of the Modernismus - Malevich paining the Black Square. Is it not necessary to defend its position in the trajectory of the modern visual culture, or its iconographic importance. The painting responds to my requirement of the reproducable artifact, mainly because of its special visual qualities of approaching “zero form”. I decided to try to reproduce the first version of the four “editions” of the paintings (from 1915, 1923, 1929 and 1932), the one which is today exhibited in Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. This painting was already in 20ies in bad condition and since then is kept and exhibited in a stable state of conservation. Actually, this is the simple reason why Malevich decided to paint later versions.
I am re-documenting Black square by means of time-based media such as film and video, and I am applying a special effect (the so-called dolly effect, introduced by Irmin Roberts in 1958, the same year it appeared in the film Vertigo). The optical effect is achieved by using the setting of a zoom lens o adjust angle of view (often referred to as field of view) while the camera dollies (or moves) towards or away from the subject in such a way as to keep the subject the same size in the frame throughout. In its classic form, the camera is pulled away from a subject whilst the lens zooms in, or vice-versa. Thus, during the zoom, there is a continuous perspective distortion the most directly noticeable feature being that the background appears to change size relative to the subject.
Firstly I made an ideal version of the video document, a virtual 3D visualisation of the museum situation in the Tretyakov Gallery. The render was constructed from the amateur snapshot I downloaded from the Internet blog. There is just an installation of Black Square on the wall. Secondly I made in the Moscow exposition several short scenes shot in super 8mm [camera] on colour film. Before the illegal act of shooting I did some research on how to achieve the dolly effect without the dolly.
During reflection upon the output of the project I decided to make it simple, to economize it, and put aside other possible forms of documentation. I am presenting both film and the video in the installation, where they don't compete with each other. The source of the digital projection is not visible, but the reproduction apparatus for the film projection is exposed on the pedestal and has become part of the piece itself.
The digital projection should in the first place evoke a cinematic genre of sci-fi, a dizzy gaze into the malstrom of antimatter, or a black hole.
Curated by Jiří Černický
Jan Brož, born in Šternberk, lives and works in Praha. Since 2007 student at the Akademie výtvarných umění v Praze (studio of Jiří Příhoda, Markus Huemer and Vladimír Skrepl).