In the infinite expanse of photographs in circulation there are those that wander in a state of somnambulism, speaking in tongues and mutating as they move ever further away from their points of origin. In order to awaken these images from their babbling slumber they must be rendered visible as contemplative objects.
This series is comprised of photographs appropriated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Stolen Art File – an online database of artworks reported as stolen. Some information regarding artist, title, period, medium, and measurements is given for most of the works listed. However, many of the photographs of the artworks have varying degrees of obfuscation and legibility due to a combination of poor documentation, technical errors, and digital compression. A distorted photograph in the National Stolen Art File is often the only publicly available visual documentation for a listed artwork. These pictures exist in a strange place between cultural artifact and abstract data.
I have resized the digital image files taken from the database so that when printed, the photographs are the approximate size of the original artworks. The physical manifestations of the distorted photographs are pixilated placeholders for the missing works that give form to the digital mediation, circulation, and consumption of art. They are the products of transmission from original to reproduction after reproduction, losing and gaining information in the process. In this altered state the images embody the contradictions of representation and abstraction, presence and absence.