Plane of Scattered Pasts

In 2002, at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, a five-hundred year old marble sculpture of Adam fell from its unstable pedestal to the floor, shattering into hundreds of fragments. The museum was faced with a choice: either leave it broken or commit to a restoration, as if the event had never occurred. In the former case, suspending the shattered parts with an elaborate scaffolding system would render the accident as its defining moment. Instead, the museum’s conservationists and forensic specialists spent the next ten years painstakingly repairing the artwork, returning it to its near-original state.

In “Plane of Scattered Pasts”, I create new ways of thinking about ordinary objects and their inexorable fragmentation. Things break. They no longer do what they were designed to do. Surface damage and wear and tear are visual cues of a thing’s history, their former life of use and purpose. My work amends broken things by recasting and embellishing their materiality. I am reproducing their original ordinariness and reorienting their presence in terms of aesthetic value.  

This work is also a rumination on the current and future brokenness of my own body, a collection dedicated to the perils and pleasures of aging. 

Photographer: Mario Gallucci