ANDREW RAFACZ begins 2013 with Cern, new works by Jeremy Bolen. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. It continues through Saturday, March 30, 2013.
In an effort to rethink documentary tendencies, Jeremy Bolen employs a series of site-specific, experimental photographic techniques to explore the tensions between traditional representation and invisible phenomena. Bolen uses bodies of water, soil, unexposed film, and self-designed multi-lens cameras as recording devices, rethinking the apparatus for each site to capture events beyond human perception. He collaborates closely with scientists, piggybacking on their experiments to record evidence of unknown and unresolved energy, from forgotten natural disasters and particle acceleration, to the surface of the film. The film becomes a responsive membrane leaving a documentary trace, an ambient map, a literal, empirical index that makes the unknown less abstract. The final images are re-immersed in the site material where they were conceived, causing a tension between the real and the representational.
To create the work included in this exhibition, Bolen traveled to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland to interact with the Large Hadron Collider, which produces 600 million particle collisions per second in an effort to recreate the conditions present just after the Big Bang. These “field recordings” ultimately investigate the complications that arise from these collisions and their relationship to naturally occurring forces. New spaces evolve in each document as climate and human interaction shift and blur the system of materials. As Karin Knorr Cetina wrote in Epistemic Cultures, “in these experiments the universe of signs and traces is overlaid by a universe of simulations and distortions of signs and traces.” For Bolen, this is the way the practice of the photographer and the scientist are fundamentally connected. In the same way that things are disturbed when measured through scientific processes, the very act of photography itself, whether traditional or experimental, adulterates its final results. It is this tension between the accuracy or inaccuracy of capturing ephemeral phenomena and its potential representation as a visual artifact that drives Bolen’s documents.
JEREMY BOLEN (American, b. 1977) lives and works in Chicago. He received his MFA from UIC in 2012. He was included in GROUND FLOOR at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, in 2012 and exhibited at the UNITLED art fair in Miami, December 2012, with the gallery. He is included in numerous private collections as well as the Progressive collection. A catalog with images and an essay by Monica Westin accompanies the exhibition.