Long before large art exhibitions and blockbuster shows, crowds were awed by traveling shows called “phantasmagoria” in which stories were preformed via magic lanterns and rear projections, creating dancing shadows and frightening theatrical effects. These lively, interactive events incorporated narrative, mythology, and theater in a single art form that entertained while providing a space for thinking about the otherworldly. The artists in Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence drew on forms of representation linked with the tradition of fantasy and magic used by phantasmagoria and reframed them around contemporary issues, reflecting on notions of absence and loss. These artists’ approaches ranged from the festive to the ironic, counterbalancing the emotionally charged, often somber implications of their subject matter.
Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence is a traveling exhibition co-organized by iCI (independent Curators International), New York, and the Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia, and circulated by iCI. The guest curator for the exhibition is José Roca. The exhibition, tou , and catalogue are made possible, in part, by the iCI independents and the iCI Exhibition Partners.
Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence was also made possible in part by a grant from the Horizons Grants Program of the Salina Arts & Humanities Commission, City of Salina.
Jim Campbell Library, 2004
E.D. screen with attached Plexiglas and photogravure
x 31.5 x 3 inches
Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York
PHANTASMAGORIA: SPECTERS OF ABSENCE December 12, 2008 through February 15, 2009