Finger: A Mural
The museum has painted over Darren Waterson’s mural painting Wa‘a to make way for Finger, a new mural by Chicago artist Ken Fandell (born 1971). Known for his video and photographic works, Fandell often creates images that he digitally combines and manipulates to produce large-scale framed works or gigantic murals—his most spectacular installation to date is a pair of murals of cloud-filled skies, Days and Nights, Dawns and Dusks, North and South, East and West, Mine and Yours (2008), at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Fandell often addresses the idea of the epic vs. the banal in his work. One of his most recent works, Finger, makes its public debut at Spalding House. Fandell made a digital collage from 111 pictures of his finger at different angles and bends, looping around and around in a maze-like composition.
“It does not follow a system and it's all subjective—it's more related to painting than photography, in that it involves intuitiveness,” Fandell told the website Chicagoist. “I want viewers to feel physically overwhelmed by it—to make it not understandable. One of the things I'm doing now is one-word titles—trying to distill the idea down to one word but still following the rules of my other titles in that it should simultaneously describe what you're looking at but also involve many implications. The title Finger came from a bunch of places. For one thing, I'm trying to get back to projects that are more about the body. Another thing is that, looking back at my work over the last seven to eight years, something that stands out but which I have not explicitly addressed is the element of drama. There's humor in Finger, but it's very dramatic.”
For Fandell a finger can symbolize something accusatory or blaming in relationship to others. Fandell writes, “It's about pointing, blaming, defining, identifying, assigning, directing, convoluted ways we get to destinations (both emotional and physical), touching, and cussing. Equal part inspirations from God’s and Adam's fingers on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the animations of Terry Gilliam. The finger is continuous and there is only one ending point, but it's extremely hard to follow exactly where and what it's pointing to, and how it got there.”