About the Work
I create still images, video, and objects from important cultural images by altering or removing the punctual event in the image. The works explore the power of authorship in collective memory. This multidisciplinary studio practice is rooted in the scrutiny of popular historiography and the indexical document. Through various methods I seek to interrupt, displace or interfere with the images that make up our personal and shared histories. This practice of arrogation allows me to confuse, append, or create a new memory for the viewer. In this way I interrupt the stream of information and imagery that is disseminated, filtered, and collected. The works find context in our personal memory and in the larger postmodern conversation about what is real. We often note, in trying to understand our own history, that the photographs which signify the events we experience come to replace or complicate our own memories. In this way, I intend the images I produce to further alter those collective memories. Moreover, the works often seek a meditative or still moment during which the viewer can stand transfixed. This contemplative moment is an opportunity to introduce the larger context in which we collect and chronicle our communal history.
As with Azzarella's previous works -- all of which involve removing either the people or other main elements from universally recognizable images -- the act of removing creates not an emptiness, but a void that is filled in a rush of possible alternatives. And in the end, that makes the artist's true subject not the works upon which he operates, not art history, and not politics -- but rather, his work is about the very nature of memory, attention, and experience themselves. And it does exactly the one thing everyone can agree that art should do and that the best art has always done -- it shows us back our world in a way that forever changes how we see it. - Shana Nys Dambrot, WhiteHot Magazine, September 2013
... In her passage, Dorothy slows to the point of seemingly still ... and brings the viewer to a state of suspension. It is a pause within a pause. Relying on the collective pop cultural memory, Azzarella omits the before and after and transforms a pivotal moment into the main event. The Sun is the Same suggests that the transition is as inhabitable as the points of departure or arrival. - Adrienne Callander, Collapse exhibition catalog, October 2013
Exhibition + Sales