Paul Chan


Currently, this work is not on view to the public.

1st Light, 2005
Projected digital animation: artist-authenticated computer,
software, and animation
Dimensions variable
14 minutes, color, silent
Edition 1 of 5
Gift of Kimberly and James Pallotta

Paul Chan's video 1st Light commences a planned seven-part cycle of animations that the artist will create over the next few years on themes of religion, politics, and art. Designed on a computer and projected on the floor, the simple but dramatic silhouettes depict an idiosyncratic, post-9/11 vision of the Christian Rapture. As shadowy bodies fall and earthly objects rise to the heavens, the work addresses the meaning of salvation and faith in an era dominated by war, consumerism, and terror. 1st Light was created for Chan's Momentum 5 exhibition at the ICA in 2005.

ICA Collection: Expanding the Field of Painting

Untitled, 2011 (not pictured)
Oil paint on book cover
28 x 11 ½ inches
Extended loan from the Mannion Family 

When artist Paul Chan heard the complaint that e-publishers like himself were engaged in the destruction of books, he decided to literalize the idea by tearing out pages of his favorite book, Arthur Schopenhauer’s 1851 Parerga and Paralipomena. After removing all the pages, he saw that the shape and surface of the book cover provided a perfect surface for painting. “I began destroying more books to paint on them, on weekends. Each cover seemed to call for different things: some expressionistic, others naturalistic, still others plainly monochrome. I never read the books I tore apart.” In Untitled, gray, white, and black blocks of paint float on the canvas of the book cover like miniature paintings whose content has bleached or faded away. The juxtaposition of the painted surface and the cover title, Buckaroo, provides for humorous and confusing connotations. Deprived of its contents, the cover becomes a surface for the imagination.



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