John Divola (born 1949) is an American contemporary visual artist.

He received a B.A. from California State University, Northridge in 1971 and completed his M.F.A. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1974.

Divola’s career spans four decades, focusing on the conceptions and limitations of photography. In his Vandalism (1973-75) series, Divola comments on the role of the photographer as synonymous to the graffiti artist, making his own marks and emulsions in an abandoned building. His fascination with inhabitable houses led him to Zuma (1997), a body of work that documents the man-made interiors of buildings that are corroded and vandalized in contrast to the exterior of sunsets and shorelines. (Gallery Luisotti)


(1) John Divola: Photographing abandoned houses (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
(2) John Divola Lecture: Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program (San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts)

… around 1980 I started a body of work about things you can’t photograph: Gravity, Magnetism, which way water drains, and the things I see when I press my eyes with the palms of my hands. All of these images required the construction of some kind of visual metaphor.


At the same time, I was switching from color negative that I was using for Zuma to large format color transparency. I had become aware that the early C-type color prints faded badly and was trying to use a new, more stable material. This was Cibachrome, which printed from transparencies. It was very industrial and artificial, with deep color saturation and contrast.

– from the interview by David Campany –

Chroma by John Divola is published by Skinnerboox, available in stores and online for €35. You find it here.

Skinnerboox is a publishing house focused on contemporary photography and based in Jesi (Italy).


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