Panya Clark Espinal

Research & Discovery, 1988, detail (Work Table)

Research & Discovery, 1988 (installation view)

Research & Discovery, 1988, detail (Boat)

Research & Discovery, 1988
detail (Child’s Hat)

Research & Discovery, 1988, detail (Earrings)

Research & Discovery, 1988, detail (Hummingbird Suitcase)

Research & Discovery, 1988


mixed media, installation; 11 x 17 feet

In Research & Discovery, objects were fabricated from images found in National Geographic magazine. This involved scrutinizing the images carefully and meticulously custom fabricating each object in precise detail. The objects are displayed alongside their photographs on pedestals, as though part of a museum display. A worktable displays an object in the process of being fabricated and a stack of magazines, with many more selected images ready for replication. A high shelf encircles the room and supports a frieze, the pattern of which was taken from the cover of the magazine. The shelf holds a set of National Geographic magazines dating back to the early part of the 20th century.

Instead of offering us a simple critique of representation, Clark Espinal seems to extend the project proposed by National Geographic. In a strange way she returns the object to the world, transforming it from its two dimensional ‘origins’ and returning it to a three dimensional form. But now there is a gap which cannot be explained by the critique of representation. There is, in Clark Espinal’s work, no nostalgia for an authentic state of being, no sense of loss or of wrongdoing… We must recognize in this project a dissolution of subjecthood and its replacement with an act of scrutiny. Bruce Grenville