"The Chrysler Building (New York)"
"Gray/Grey deals with two seemingly unrelated subjects: skyscrapers and colorblindness." That's how photographer (and Architizer friend) Chris Mottalini describes his latest work, currently on display at the Jack Shainman Gallery as part of the "HiJack!" exhibition that runs through September 1. The series of black-and-white photographs depict paper models of the world's most iconic towers, from erstwhile pioneers-turned-heritage relics like the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings to contemporary stratospheric monuments that chart the rise, import, and wealth of Asian and Gulf powers.
The work represents a personal project for Mottalini, who is partially color-blind. He decided to set everything--both the subjects and the background--in gray, so as to avoid colors he cannot wholly detect or easily manipulate. He lovingly crafted the scaled creations himself in his Brooklyn apartment and painted every one of them a shade darker than the last. He then photographed each model in his living room, placing the diminutive structures before various backgrounds of different material and texture--a piece of plywood, matte board, plaster wall--but all of the same color. The resultant images are quiet, melancholic, and, at times, menacing. But mostly, the towers appear forlorn, even timid, as they are removed from their native cities and cast adrift in the photographer's "monochromatic vacuums", damned to forever abide alone in the nauseating abyss of their arrogance.
Gray/Grey will be exhibited at the Jack Shainman Gallery through September 1.
"The Sears Tower (Chicago)", part of 'Gray/Grey'; All photos: Chris Mottalini