Matter, 2012
HD video (color, sound), video player
10 min, loop
Dimensions variable, portait orientation
Edition of 6

Installation view at the Park Avenue Armory, New York City.

Matter is the first piece in a new series of work that investigates objects with three-dimensional surface features. The subject of this piece is Rodin’s iconic 1902 sculpture “The Thinker”. Matter sets up a tension between physical and artificial reality, while exploring the geometric complexities of subtraction, the process of carving away from a block of material.

A departure from Quayola’s past projects, in which he films and photographs his subjects directly, Matter originated with a computer graphic model of its subject. This 3-D model was constructed based on photos of the original sculpture, rather than using a scan or other techniques of capture. As a representation it is therefore susceptible to error, marking a shift in Quayola’s approach toward virtual space. While his past Strata series may emphasized perfection, this new body of work is interested in precision- specifically that of man-made crafts, those executed by hand with great skill.

It is perhaps significant that Rodin’s sculpture is considered today as a bridge between classical and modern times. While similarly utopian, Quayola’s video installation is born from a virtual place, one that can only be navigated on-screen. Our gaze in this piece is carefully guided and framed, traveling across the subject. The sense of time is suspended, as this piece explores process and volumetric transformation.

Volume itself is treated as the raw material of this object, which can be represented in software with clouds of points. In this piece, Quayola algorithmically rearranges the density of these points, pushing his imagery toward spaces of geology and crystallization. He struggles with the varied shapes of his subject matter, constantly questioning it, re-forming it, and ultimately reaching no final state of completion.

“The dimensional exploration of material is what interests me,” says Quayola. “What is the history of a material that its then shaped and transformed into new objects? Quite simply, how does matter come into existence?”

Commissioned by Audemars Pigeut, Le Brauss, Switzerland.
Debuted March 2012 in New York at the Park Avenue Armory.
Sound design by Matthias Kispert.

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