Narcistecture: an exhibition of new photography work by Nik Pichler opens at Whitebox Art Center, New York City
Narcistecture, is a collection of photographic images that capture the play of light and color of reflections on city architecture. Disrupting assumptions of perspective and scale, Pichler produces complex images that are at once flat and richly layered. He reduces his surroundings to graphic pictures, formalizing the chaos of his urban environment into compositions of geometric shapes and watery backgrounds. By using the mirroring ability of built structures, Pichler’s work brings the background into foreground and demands that the viewer look closer, not at themselves but
at their surroundings. Tony Guerrero, Executive and Artistic Director of Whitebox, invited photographer Carolina Sandretto to co-curate Narcistecture. Narcistecture invites viewers to consider the contemporary conditions of a world transformed by social media, which has changed not only what we look at, but how we look. The proliferation of the “Selfie” is only the newest manifestation of ego-centric tendencies that are innately human. Drawing from age-old Greek mythology, Narcistecture plays on architecture’s reflective qualities; like Narcissus, unable to look away from his own reflection, ultimately dying beside his own image, the city buildings in each image obsessively project themselves onto others in an endless echo. The photographs produce dual perspectives – that of the human immersed in the reflections, and that of the architecture continuously gazing at itself.
Maria Carolina Sandretto writes of the work: “‘Selfies’ are the most fashionable way to depict oneself. We turn our cameras against us to photograph who we are and where we are. From the Oscars’ celebrations to the common person on their social media account, everyone is taking pictures of himself or herself fearless of the possible outcome. In the society of the picture, what surrounds us might be disappearing in the background of the main subject. Nik takes us back where we belong, into our context. In the streets of different cities he captures what he sees and where he is by reflecting the buildings and the shapes of architecture into itself. We as individuals are present in the pictures but absent from them. Present as our society builds the architectures but absent as individuals. His photographs become mirrors of our own society viewing itself and reflecting what it is. As a monumental “Selfie” Niks’ work make us think about what the world of today looks like.”