REITER galleries
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09-10-2020 – 10-31-2020 | R E I T E R Berlin prospect

James Nizam

Celestial Telegraphies

James Nizam »Drawing with Starlight (Circle)« (detail) 2020 . analogue photograph
James Nizam »Drawing with Starlight (Circle)« (detail) 2020 . analogue photograph

James Nizam’s new exhibition »Celestial Telegraphies« brings imponderable ancient starlight into our present experience. From expeditions under the night skies of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Canary Islands Spain, Nizam has captured stellar formations in his photographs from the ongoing series "Drawing with Starlight". Using a modified analog camera, synchronized with the earth’s rotation, the artist draws with the light of stars. Combining precisely timed zoom bursts and exposure sequences, Nizam inscribes star-trails into radiant geometries directly onto film. Presented as large format photographs, these works show alongside his "Uranographic Figures", a series of diagrammatic transcripts that map the time signatures and iterative motifs used to calculate the "Drawings with Starlight".

»Celestial Telegraphies« continues Nizam’s fascination with expanding and translating work across material re-mediations as well as his interest in how data and visual codes can be exchanged between the visible, immaterial, and audible. For example, with "Beyond Violet" Nizam uses algorithmically driven processes to shape star trails from one of his photographs into a translucent crystalline sculpture. "Beyond Violet" reveals its structure as an impossible figure of spectral starlight drawn out into a spatial dimension.

For the installation, "Photophonic Harmony", Nizam transmits sound from one room in the gallery to another via a laser beam. Based on Alexander Bell’s "photophone" (1880), a device that can send sound on a beam of sunlight, Nizam sonifies his photographic images into sound and encodes the laser with these sound waves respectively. The resulting soundscape that we hear in the room returns the light of the stars as a path of light through the gallery space. James Nizam’s work is truly an alchemical-like act of transformation, and yet it is through novel media processes arrived at by lengthy trial and error that his works are folded into endlessly poetic constellations.

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