“The Museum of Broken Identities” takes Goya’s “Black Paintings” as a point of departure. The idea is to draw attention to the fact that artists have always been engaged within a social discourse, and it is only with the emergence of a global society that the artist’s role becomes increasingly unstable. This exhibition seeks to suggest a new potential for artists located within digital technology.
The themes of the work are taken from specific paintings by Goya and reference his skepticism of the social and political milieu of his day. Using digital technologies, this fictitious museum directly addresses issues concerning the artist’s role in society, as well as in new technologies, and as such, enters into contemporary debates surrounding the historical instability of identity per se – an instability accentuated by the presumed “reality” of digital manipulation. Other manipulations included transformations of race and gender and occur as themes only through specific historical paintings. A fundamental subversion of this project can be found in the fact that I play all of the characters in all of the pieces. While they are not necessarily obvious at first glance, the viewer will become increasingly aware of the manipulations, which, once discovered, offer easy access into the playfulness and the historical implications of the imagery itself.
All of the images are taken with a 4×5 large-format camera; scanned into the computer; combined with other photographic elements, digital scans, and digital images; output as 4×5 color negatives; and printed as C-prints.