by Jose Davila
Art / Architecture / History
10 x 9 inches
Great Pyramid of Giza
Tower of Pisa
Empire State Building
How many buildings around the world have such distinctive designs that simply their outline, and nothing else, is enough to identify them?
Artist Jose Dávila has physically cut out, from photographs, 90 of the world’s most famous and beloved buildings and structures, from ancient marvels to contemporary gems. Long interested in the relationship between built space and physical place, Dávila saw that by focusing on just the silhouette of major architectural works, while still within their immediate environment, their grandeur was heightened beyond their undeniable visual allure. Following in the footsteps of his appropriationist forbears from the 1970s and 80s such as Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince, and staking a claim for the hand-produced in today’s digital world, Davila starts with structures so well-known they’re often taken for granted, and reformats each with a renewed awareness occurring as a result. By cutting the images out by hand, he stays connected to the idea of physically manipulating space—just as architecture itself does.
There is no better way to see how a piece of architecture fits in with its surroundings than to observe its pure white silhouette—the effect allows for a whole new, enlightening experience. A unique appreciation for architectural form and creative genius develops when the viewer is confronted with the blank space where a building used to be, but now, on the page, is not.
Jose Dávila's work is fueled by an interest in the relation between place and fiction, space and temporality as it pertains to architecture. His sculptures, photography, and installations have been featured in the booksCream 3 (Phaidon, 2003), 100 Latin American Artists (Exit, 2007), and Megastructures Reloaded (Hatje Cantz, 2008), and been exhibited at PS1, New York; Kunstwerke, Berlin; San Diego Museum of Art; Reina Sofia, Madrid; Prague Biennale, Camden Arts Centre, London; Museé de Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne; Fundazione Brogovico 33, Lake Como; IVAM, Valencia and more. Dávila has been the recipient of support from the Andy Warhol Foundation, Kunstwerke residency in Berlin, and the National Grant for young artists by the Mexican Arts Council (FONCA) in 2000. He is the director and co-founder of OPA, an artist-run space, in Guadalajara, Mexico where he currently resides and works.