Chewy, Elmo and I finally entered the Nomadic Museum today to check out the Ashes and Snow exhibition. After two previous unsuccessful attempts, the third was obviously the charm. Entering the space felt like a religious experience, the architecture, lighting and audio all gave it a very pompous feeling. I loved the space, who knew shipping containers could offer such a moving experience. Get it? Shipping containers? Moving? Hahahah *slapping my knee*... anyhow, back to the matter at hand.
The space created by the shipping containers and support columns was a very narrow and high one. Wooden planks lined the walkway that extended all the way from the entrance down the pier to a small dark room showing video footage of the same shots as the photos. Both sides of the wooden walkway was filled with small smooth rocks hidden in the unlit areas of the museum.
Lining boths sides of the annoyingly narrow walkway (especially with the crowd there) were the photos on huge pieces of Japanese paper canvas hung from the ceiling. Spotlights on both sides of the museum highlighted each piece along with the spotlights directly overhead that lit the walkway. The shadows thrown by the spotlights onto the rock surfaces looked amazing. Props to the lighting designer! The entire space was filled with the chant like music from the video. Think Halo game music before the guitars come in.
Anyway, the photos themselves were amazing to a certain degree. Almost too perfect. Unlike some art that is a little more reserved, allowing the viewer to slowly make a connection with it, Colbert's photos beats the viewer over the head repeatedly with how perfectly situated the subjects are. There doesn't seem to be any emotion or story behind each photo. The subjects themselves are so perfect they look almost dead. Sometimes, art is appreciated in the imperfections that have been left there by the artist. None seems to exist in Colbert's work. Chewy couldn't seem to get over the fact that these photos weren't doctored in anyway, that's how amazing they were. Did I use the word 'amazing' enough times?
In the end, the art is a little overbearing but I appreciate the shots. My favorite happens to be the one pictured as a thumbnail at the beginning of the post. While we sat around recovering from the entire experience, we were inspired to record our own pieces of art. And so Chewy, Elmo and I present to you Photos Taken Not So Long Ago, inspired by Ashes and Snow.
Update: You can find more photos of the Nomadic Museum in this Flickr Set.