Kei Ito: Aborning New Light
Exhibition Dates: July 1 – July 31, 2021
Center for Fine Art Photography in Collaboration with Night Lights Denver
5:29 AM on July 16th, 2021 is the 76th year anniversary of the first nuclear explosion that blazed into existence in the early morning skies of Los Alamos, NM. Center for Fine Art Photography and Night Lights Denver presents, Aborning New Light, a video installation made by visual artist Kei Ito and is constructed out of declassified nuclear testing footage. Ito, a third-generation atomic bomb victim – hibakusha, reprocessed the footage from tests done on American soil as thousands of separate photograms, using sunlight to remake each frame before re-compiling them into video. In this installation, the videos are played in reverse, the explosions shrinking instead of expanding. Houses, school buses, and mannequins are reconstructed before our eyes while time counts down to a period before nuclear weapons and their extreme proliferation across the globe.
The full-length video will be projected on the Daniels and Fisher Tower (through a collaboration of the Center and Night Lights Denver) at the exact moment of the bomb’s birth, July 16th, 5:29 AM, as a memorial to its creation, a cautionary tale, and a remembrance of all of those affected by its existence. A shorter version can be viewed for the full month of July 2021 from the hours of 9pm-11:59pm. Kei Ito is a Japan-born visual artist based in the East Coast area who primarily works with camera-less photography and installation art. Ito received his BFA from Rochester Institute Technology in 2014 and MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016. He is currently teaching at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in NYC.
Ito’s work addresses issues of deep intergenerational loss and connections as he explores the materiality and experimental processes of photography, specifically the idea around visualizing the invisible such as radiation, memory and life/death. His work, rooted in the trauma and legacy passed down from his late grandfather – a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, meditates on the complexity of his identity and heritage through examining the past and current threats of nuclear disaster and his present status as an US-immigrant.
Dionne Lee: A Muscle Memory
Exhibition Dates: July 14 – September 19, 2021
Dionne Lee Artist Talk: September 2, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.
Through the use of photography, collage, and video Dionne Lee explores power, survival, and personal history in relation to the American landscape. Understanding American soil as a site of trauma, Lee looks to larger historical narratives, such as the unfulfilled post-Civil War promise of 40 acres and a mule to newly freed Black people, as a touchstone for understanding how history acts as a system that determines the autonomy and resilience of people across time. Lee’s work considers the complications and dual legacies that exist within photographic representations of the American landscape that is often presented as a space of peak contentment and peace, despite being steeped in trauma and violence.
These works mostly pre-date the pandemic. Initially, this work, Lee describes, was a way to grapple with the repercussions of climate change and natural disasters of the elements: wind, fire, water, earth. All of which felt more immediate after the artist moved to California at the height of a historic drought and experienced the yearly wildfires of Northern California. An important question for Lee is: who is best positioned to survive?
Lee received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. She has exhibited work at the Museum of Modern Art, Aperture Foundation, the school of the International Center of Photography in New York City, and throughout the Bay Area including Aggregate Space, Interface gallery, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.