I was inspired by Walter Benjamin’s essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction written in 1935, which discusses the impact the camera plays socially, politically, and ethically on the reproduction of art. The essay is quite timeless. It reverberates into the present. Think about how google’s Arts & Culture application is able to transport famous pieces of art, either by creating a simulation of an art gallery or by a single painting, into any environment through augmented reality. After Benjamin’s essay I researched further into the subject of reproduction. I read Ways of Seeing by John Berger and Image World (Pg.119) by Susan Sontag. Both essays further the discussion Benjamin started in 1935. Berger reveals how the duplication of art is utilized by major corporations as means to create seductive advertisements for consumable products. In World Image, Sontag continues this realization of the image becoming a consumable object, completely void of a soul and an efficient tool of capitalism.
I began to think about how people engage with art. How it’s viewed. Consumed.
I wanted to experiment with this by crudely reproducing a well known piece of art. I wanted to explore making the object something new, like a book.
This manifested into a replication of Michelangelo’s David. It is the exact height of the statue, 17′. Printed out on 180 sheets of letter size paper, which is loosely bound as a book and was presented in a small gallery space.