This will be Frampton’s first solo exhibition in New York City, a remarkable fact considering his renown and association with the city. The following is an excerpt from the artist’s original proposal for ADSVMVS ABSVMVS:
“One general, public assumption about photographs is that the process of photographic representation amounts to a preservation or embalming process. The lost presence of the photographed thing, person, situation is invoked through a mummified echo, reduced to a husk of the light that once revealed it. The photographic likeness bears a distant, partial, decolorized or muted resemblance to its subject; at the same time, it has unique qualities of its own, which are entirely independent of what it depicts. Every photograph is potentially a keepsake, like a lock of hair, and a MEMENTO MORI.
For some years I have been interested in this abstract process of preservation, and its symmetry with natural processes of mummification where the contour of the once living thing is recognizably retained. I have made a collection of such “autographic likenesses” of animals. They range from Upstate New York road kills, flattened and sun-baked, to dried fish and squid in oriental food markets: a single general process and appearance, metaphorically reminiscent of the photographic image, covers a range from the blatantly morbid through the grotesque and sentimental to the edible. Like photographs, as well, they are remarkable objects in themselves.”
In addition to the suite of fourteen images that comprise ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, archival materials on loan from the Estate of the artist will be on view. A publication designed by Frampton, which provides the accompanying text that he wrote for each of the images, will also be reprinted on the occasion. ROOM EAST is organizing a screening at Anthology Film Archives on Sunday 15 November at noon.