MACK, 2021. First edition. Foil embossed hardcover bound in Japanese paper, 240 x 315 mm, 68 pp., b/w illustrated throughout. Photographs by John Divola.
Since 2015, John Divola has been making photographic projects in an abandoned air force housing complex in Victorville, California. By intervening in the buildings’ disused interiors with spray paint then photographing the modified scenes, Divola creates work that sits at an intriguing juncture of photography, sculpture, and installation. The images in Terminus gaze down derelict hallways towards dark shapes which Divola has painted at their ends. Through layers of paint, dust, and plaster, they exert an unmistakable pull on the viewer, at once suggesting the deterministic forces of fate and the rupturing possibility of escape. Arranging and juxtaposing theses images within the book as a considered object, the artist leads the viewer on a stochastic and entrancing traverse through the abandoned compounds.
Continuing the conceptual experimentation that has defined Divola’s oeuvre, Terminus captures a tension between the observation of the specific and the insistence of the abstract. These are real places, shot in the available light of early morning, but altered by Divola’s obscure hieroglyphs they are alive with suggestions of symbolism and fiction. Sharp details testify to the abandonment and demise of half-familiar scenes even as they transfigure them into stage-like arenas for ideation. Within the transitional spaces of these passageways, we are always travelling and never arriving, caught between the tidal currents of history and speculation.