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CLAUDIA PARDUCCI : The Space Between Us

In The Space Between Us Parducci investigates images of disaster sites. This imagery signifies a continued investigation of prior concerns as Parducci has long been interested in the desperation that is born of catastrophe and violence. Her 2007-2011 “Survival Project” installation consisted of a tent in the shape of a larger than life gas mask among paintings, video and utilitarian objects, such as a survivalist manual. More recent paintings depict Morse code dots and dashes containing phrases such as, “Abandon All Hope,” “Save Me and I’ll Fuck You,” or “Await Verbal Instruction” overlaid across images of burning buildings. The Space Between Us originates specifically from images of the Murrah Federal Building attack from 1995 in Oklahoma City. Parducci draws visual parallels between the Murrah imagery and recent footage of disaster sites in the Middle East. Parducci addresses the intersection of personal referents of loss and the seemingly endless devastation that infuses our daily lives through media; our own experiences transform within the framework of these images. This large-scale project involves drawings, paintings and free hanging sculptural works made from rope that serve as visual testaments that expand and deepen the vernacular of tragedy and loss.

These works depict the blown off facades of several buildings from all over the world; it is this thread of strange and brutal uniformity that makes the images so powerful. Parducci writes, “like the deteriorating human body, buildings stripped of flesh have a foundational sameness, further exaggerated by the flattening of journalistic photography, and the numbing spectacle of reportage.” Charged with emotional content, the often horrific images that we see day in and day out on the news are at best challenging and difficult to take in. Parducci reconsiders these images not as a witness to their horror, but as a means of transformation.
Tangentially related to Gerhard Richter’s seriesOctober 18, 1977, which consists of a group of blurred paintings originated from black and white photojournalistic images that capture the actions of a terrorist group called the Red Army Fraction, Parducci also draws heavily from source imagery, breaking these images down until they are simultaneously recognizable yet barely decipherable. Parducci’s choice of materials, primarily charcoal, further supports the central themes and ideas in her work, as the remnant charcoal dust suggests the rubble and debris from bombsites. Formally speaking, the works border on pure abstraction. Lines and shapes converge on one another, sometimes obscuring the more complex narrative. Finally, through repetition and exploration of line and structure, Parducci utilizes the photograph as a strategy for interruption and interrogation, pushing beyond the static documentary image to encompass a deeper more metaphorical meaning intrinsic to images of devastation.

Eric Minh Swenson covers the international art scene. His art films can be seen at thuvanarts.com/take1