Monument (detail), 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in)
Monument (detail), 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in)
Monument, 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in), edition of 6 + 1 AP
Monument, 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in), edition of 6 + 1 AP
Monument (detail), 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in)
Monument (detail), 2013, pigment print, 85 x 85 cm (33.46 x 33.46 in)

Monument

About the print

Griep Slaat Toe (Flu Strikes), says the headline on the newspaper on the stairs at the station.

At the time the photos for Monument were taken, the global public health concern was the A (H1N1) flu virus. It was 2009. The photos for the photo-composite were taken from the bottom of the staircase on the Kersenbaan side of Central Station in Amersfoort. Like many of the photos I was collecting at the time, they sat in digital storage until it was their turn. That was in 2012.

I remember beginning by trying to reconstruct the staircase — photo by photo, puzzle piece by puzzle piece — as an ordered set of horizontal steps, the way a physical staircase is constructed. Very quickly though I became frustrated with the simple rebuilding in two dimensions of what I had torn apart with the camera. At one point, I remember making a fairly undirected selection of a large group of the roughly 170 photos in the image (I was compositing on the computer). I clicked the mouse button and dragged whatever I had picked up to one side of the canvas with a sudden, sharp move of the mouse. A jagged staircase appeared. I followed the lead.1

Once the staircase fell into place, the fragments of Central Station architecture that appeared along the top edges of some of the photographs suggested something could be built. The result was the tower (or monument) and line of fantasy architecture at the top of the stairs. The yellowish-green, Matrix-like sky was constructed from a separate set of photos.

In my mind, Monument remains a bit of a haunted scene. The disembodied tennis shoe still climbing the stairs to the right of the image contributes to the atmosphere. Today, we might call its appearance a glitch.


1. “He [Francis Bacon] didn’t like people around when he was working. He obviously did weird things like accidentally rub against…with his shoulder, blowing dust, or, um, you know, Rawrrr! [Beard throws his arms into the air], trying to get a thing that doesn’t work completely different.” – Peter Beard (Adam Low, Bacon’s Arena, 2006)

How (not) to Make Art Le Purple

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