John Divola (b. 1949, Los Angeles) works primarily with photography and digital imaging. While he has approached a broad range of subjects, he is currently moving through the landscape looking for the oscillating edge between the abstract and the specific.
Divola has taught photography and art at numerous institutions including California Institute of the Arts (1978-1988) and he has been a Professor of Art at the University of California, Riverside, since 1988.
Recently published titles include The Green of This Notebook (Nazraeli Press, 2009), As Far As I Could Get (Prestel, 2013) and Vandalism (MACK, 2018).
Publisher: Mack Books
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.
On the occasion of the publication of his new book Terminus, John Divola speaks to Andrew Witt, fellow at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, about modern ruins, navigating the detritus of history, and the evolution of his distinctive practice at the juncture of photography and sculpture.
Book Specs: Foil embossed hardback bound in Japanese paper; 24 x 31.5 cm; 68 pages: €35 £30 $40; Publication date: February 2021: ISBN 978-1-913620-08-0. Available here.