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Vanessa Banoni

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The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

mixed-media, installation, video-art, photography, digital, abstract, conceptual, sculpture


We live in an era of ready-made objects, in a world with a laden cultural history, filled with long-established norms and morals. Often we take these as givens, rarely we question their meaning or what we see.

My artwork begins with a conceptualization about the questioning of our perspectival experience, the validity of what we perceive, and seeks to elicit a decoding of what constitutes an illusion. The minimalist approach of my working process is one of fine-tuning, a game of addition and subtraction of elements until only those necessary for conveying a work’s meaning remains. The simplicity or complexity of these elements is secondary in my practice; their efficiency takes precedence.

Influences include Merleau-Ponty’s essays on phenomenology and his work on optical illusion, instilling in me a curiosity about the idea of how one creates meaning from visual accuracy. The conceptual underpinnings and eye-catching aesthetics of Robert Irwin and James Turrell have also shaped my practice.

My most recent work makes use of a miniature into which colored light is projected.
One piece is a video installation, recorded from within the model, projected onto the entirety of a wall. The scale dissonance creates a sense of strangeness, which returns the audience into questioning what they see. The second involves an installation of three still shots of warm and cool colored light. Through this juxtaposition I effect an oscillation and comparison of proximity, depth and dimension. I choose a simple model that can be related to any place, and not specifically to one. I am not interested in a representational piece, I am interested in the first encounter with an object. I want an object devoid of any cultural heredity. I don’t want the audience to tie it to a historical meaning. Instead I want them to form their own meaning through their experience with this object and their perspectival analysis.

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