Online Exhibition / Craig Havens

What's Going To Happen Now

Sept 4 – Nov 30, 2020 
 

A selection of artistic experiments conducted during research for the doctoral thesis Countermonumental Strategies: German Countermonuments and their Applied Artistic Strategies. 

These works by Craig Havens explore how Monuments can be redefined and repurposed in order to expose the structural influence of cultural memory and historical narrative.

Monuments are historically concerned with claiming a ground that cannot be challenged – seeking to maintain assumptions of singularity, centralization, legacy and perpetuity. The Countermonumental perspective embraces and employs multiplicities, peripheries, dispersal and impermanence.

In acknowledgement of this research and associated artworks, the title of PhD in Arts and Sciences of Art was awarded to Craig Havens by the ED20 Joint Doctoral Program in collaboration with Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels (ERG) and Université de Louvain (UCL) on June 16, 2020.

 


Waterloo Battlefield (Freshly-turned Soul), Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium.
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 2 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.
Courtesy of 50°49'19.50''N 4°21'25.53''E galerie de l'erg, Brussels.

 

The Camera / Countermonument series of photographs represent the uprooting and reinterpretation of physical monumental structures which were originally erected to be seen in a clearly prescribed manner. This is accomplished via the simple repositioning of the Camera’s perspective in relation to the Monument.

No hammers, chisels, building materials, cranes or power equipment are necessary to reinterpret and re-contextualize the monuments depicted. Even so, these physical tools are visually referenced in the work in order to compare the differences and similarities between the camera as a tool of monument-making and the physical act of constructing and deconstructing monumental structures.

Photography represents a creative process that for much of its short history has been practiced in a singularly regimented, monumental and standardized way for the advantage and benefit of commercial ends. Therefore photography shares a similar trajectory with many of the other plastic arts which were historically beholden to depict the Monumental concerns and narratives of those who could afford to commission their practitioners.

This ability of photography to memorialize a moment in time with crystal clarity was the reason for its enjoying such success in becoming the dominant visual medium of the 20th Century. Yet, in a Countermonumental sense, this singular focus on capturing moments in time is precisely what has constricted the practice and possibilities of photography. This is mainly due to the fact that it inherently presents a view of the world which elevates selected moments above others, when the fluidity of experience is something much more elusive and timeless.

The struggle to not allow a memory to fade is the problematic underpinning of why monumental creations consistently fail. In trying to last forever they make their temporality even more apparent and their ability to preserve themselves even more futile. In trying to hold a singular viewpoint through visual and physical dominance such creations can engender a numb absorption or even worse a deliberate rejection by the ever-shifting attention of a fluid populace through time.

 


Butte de Leon & Dirtpile.
Waterloo Battlefield, Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium.
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 2 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.
Courtesy of 50°49'19.50''N 4°21'25.53''E galerie de l'erg, Brussels.

 


Everybody Knows Our Cities Were Built To Be Destroyed (Phnom Bakheng)
Deconstruction of Temple Phnom Bakheng, Cambodia. (erected circa. 889 AD)
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 3 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.

 


Everybody Knows Our Cities Were Built To Be Destroyed (The Lustgarten).
Reconstruction of the Berliner Schloss, Germany
First Constructed 1442 / Destroyed 1950 / Reconstruction 2019
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 3 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters

 


Flags & Tar Pits
Rancho La Brea, Los Angeles, California, United States. 
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 2 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.

 


Behind The Back Of The Buddha. 
Great Amitabha Buddha, Phat Tich Mountain, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 3 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.