Today I visited the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, who is hosting one of the Independent Projects, to see how Miler Lagos' project is unfolding. And it is, in a big way! Ten boxes, each one weighing half a ton, are filled to the brim with newspapers that will be carefully unfolded, glued together and then rolled into a round disk almost 6 feet in diameter. The surface of the disk will then be sanded with a power tool -and get burnt in the process- and will end up looking as a cross-section of a giant log, growth circles and all.
Miler Lagos showing the core of the disk. The roll you see is a whole
morning's worth of collective work. Long days await him...
Cimiento (Foundation), (2007), stack of 6000 offset prints, sculpted into the form of a tree.
Miler has done similar projects in the past, symbolically returning paper to its origin in wood, reversing the process from culture to nature. For example, he has stacked reproductions of Durer's prints, and then sculpted them into tree stumps. For Other Florae, an exhibition I curated in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2008, he did a floor-to-bottom tree out of stacked newspapers that despite being for the most part just cut paper (not burnt with a sanding tool), was surprisingly realistic even when seen up close.
View of the exhibition at Nara Roesler gallery in Sao Paulo. Miler's tree is in the foreground.
The piece for Philagrafika 2010, titled Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin's early pseudonym), will be more abstract and minimal, and will be accompanied with a cube also carved out of compressed newspaper in the form of a "throne", which is meant to symbolize the power of the press.
The project is curated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery, and has been put together by her energetic team. A group of volunteers from UPenn is helping Miler and his assistant take on the daunting task of turning discarded newspapers into sculptural form.
For those interested in knowing more about Miler's process, he is giving a talk at Penn on January 27 at 5:30pm. Check the website for details.
Last but not least, Out of Print artist Lisa Anne Auerbach (who will be showing her work The Tract House at the American Philosophical Society) is having a knitting event at National Mechanics (3rd street between spruce and Market, 6-8pm). Hope you can come.