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I am writing you
from a pit. It is quite dark
here. I see a little.
I am scratching this note on a stone.
Where are you? It has been long.
Thank you for your note.
I do not know where I am.
I believe I may
be with you. It is not dark
here. The light has blinded me.
(L.T., Epistles)In conjunction with ACRE, The Plaines Project presents OPAQUE LIGHT: New Work by Alex de Leon. Utilizing decollage and out of camera photography, the work in Opaque Light deconstructs digital screens and physical book covers. Working with these surfaces as information exchange venues, they are remediated and reconstituted as stages for a new legibility, part of the coup of visual pleasure over interpretation. This shift relieves them of their meaning, where they can become cultural trash or art objects. In flux there is reference to a utopian moment of future transformation, but in this moment: It is, as Osip Mandelstam would say in later years, the quality of sunlight on a wall. He was speaking of civilization.
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The exhibition features two series, Black Book (ISBN) and Screengrams 1-10, and a sculpture, re:de. Black Book(ISBN) is an installation of modified book covers. The covers are treated to reveal the shadow-play between showing and telling via a relatively simple process of obscuring and removing. The books have been re-designated new ISBNs to install them in an abstracted system of commodifiable products that exist beyond the gallery walls, where their new form takes on a serialized, iterative status. Screengrams 1-10, a series of photograms constructed from fractured, taken-apart iphone screens, utilizes techno-trash to explore early photographic tradition through the filter of the deadened luminescent screen.
In re:de, the radiant screen is again considered as a site with which to engage with the aesthetics of opacity and legacy of media decollage.
Alex de Leon is an artist, arts organizer and educator in Chicago, IL. Her work utilizes photography, text, installation, and a variety of form-fit mediums in order to respond to fractured hermeneutics, opaque systems and ideology, and a perceived limit to what we can understand and know. She studied at Columbia College and the College of William and Mary, where she earned a B.A. in English Literature. She currently works in Chicago Public Schools as a teaching artist with Columbia College’s CCAP program.