Artwork details

Zuma #4
Archival pigment print
101,6 x 127 cm
John Divola

Courtesy of the artist.


Zuma #4, 1978
John Divola’s photographs of deserted houses and shabby interiors have been referred to as “catastrophal fiction”, and resemble the scenography in an apocalyptic Hollywood disaster film. The Zuma series originated when Divola broke into derelict beach houses and used the interiors as canvases for painterly experiments, which he documented with photographs. Divola’s photographs cross the boundaries of several types of art by combining documentary photographs and the landscape genre with performative acts, graffiti and painterly gestures. Divola also explores time by spray-painting the same surfaces several times while photographing the results with a slow shutter speed. The photographs evoke the California landscape tradition as the colourful sunset can be glimpsed through the open windows and cracks in the walls. The sunsets emerge as both beautiful and potentially threatening – and such a duality within the sun-drenched but apocalyptic climate is a familiar concept in the mythology surrounding the natural landscape of Los Angeles.


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