Captives #1 – Triptych, 2013
Three monitors, 46 in / 116.8 cm, each
HD video (color, sound), two video players
7 min, loop
Edition of 3
Quayola’s most recent series of sculptures and animated videos, “Captives”, is a contemporary interpretation of Michelangelo’s “Prigioni” series (1513-1534).Originally commissioned to Michelangelo by Pope Julius II for his tomb, the “Prigioni” statues were never fully completed. “In my mind I always imagined that Michelangelo decided to leave them unfinished on purpose,” says Quayola. “I’d like to think that during the process he realized that the main subject was not the human figure, but the actual articulation of marble and the metamorphosis of matter itself.”
Transporting this beauty to a virtual realm, Quayola’s sculptures are accompanied by a multi-channel video installation. In the process of creating “Captives”, he used mathematical functions to describe endlessly evolving geological formations, which morph into classical figures. Pure geometric abstraction takes over as he reframes his subjects using a computational method of triangulation, leaving the final work “unfinished”.
As in previous projects, Quayola crafts a peculiar distance from his subjects, and wanders through the surface of an object, pushing beyond its picture plane. Informed by his experiences growing up in Rome, and spiritually detaching from the city’s rich tradition in architecture, the work is rooted in geometry and the iconography of perfection. Evoking the unexpected allure of a Chinese scholar’s stone, textural details in the surface of Quayola’s “Captives” result from an industrial milling technique.