The 1960s Cubed: A Counterculture of Images by Robert Hirsch
This catalog presents The 1960s Cubed exhibition, a photographic, sculptural anthology and historic narrative of the late-1950s through the early 1970s. Utilizing a post-documentary approach of freshly seeing and interpreting historical images, the installation imaginatively re-envisions the competing social landscapes that shaped the American zeitgeist of the decade. Echoing the Kodak Instamatic photo cube, the thousands of resulting photographs are presented in clear, 4 x 4 x 4-inch stack-able cubes form montages, sculptural structures, and individual compound portraits.
The project’s title addresses amplification in number and possibilities, underscoring how creation and meaning are personal and in flux. Using fragments to invent new forms, allows the re-seen photographs to transcend their original intent, making each image alive with fresh potential. Generating a space between history, media narrative, and database, this project combines a lineage in experimental films from Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) to Christian Marclay’s The Clock (2010) with Cubism and Pop Art. It breaks with linear illustration to reveal the paradoxes and puzzles of memory construction, evoking a visceral and emotional point of discovery that asks one to dig deeper and discover a personal telling. As Oscar Wilde remarked: “The moment you think you understand a work of art, it’s dead for you.” Thus, The 1960s Cubed highlights how images from the past can be supple entities, upon which fresh interpretation can expand one’s historic sensibility by revealing new commentary.
See project slideshow at: www.lightresearch.net
The complete installation includes:
• Cube montages in gallery windows
• A rotating, 5-foot hand sculpture forming a two-fingered peace sign
• A 5-foot, frustum (split), walk-through, image-cube pyramid
• Eight, double-sided, 30 x 40-inch compound portraits made-up of individual image cubes
• A mini-theater that projects transparent images from a modified 1960 Brion Gysin Dream Machine, which utilizes the “flicker” effect to produce colors and visions
• A flexible, life-sized mannequin covered with 60s buttons
• An 8 x 50-foot graphic timeline
• A 59-image spinning mobile of transparent circular images
• A 3-color, silk-screened, psychedelic exhibition poster based on a Spirograph drawing
• A 9-hour, 60s audio soundtrack
The installation premiered in April 2011 at both CEPA and Indigo Galleries in Buffalo, NY.
Robert Hirsch is a renowned photographer, educator, historian and writer. His book credits include Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age, Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Ideas, Materials and Processes; Exploring Color Photography: From the Darkroom to the Digital Studio, and Seizing Light: A History of Photography and has written articles for numerous publications. He has had many one-person shows and curated scores of exhibitions. Hirsch has also conducted workshops and interviewed eminent photographers of our time. The former executive director of CEPA Gallery, he is now the director of Light Research in Buffalo, New York.