Craig Kalpakjian's work explores the psychology of space and perceptions of reality using images of interiors and the architectural fixtures that form their boundaries. His current work consists of cibachrome prints, having worked with sculpture and video installation in the past. His earlier sculptures, such as STATION (bullet-proof casket), 1990, and his plexiglass bank teller windows from the CHANNEL series,1989 - 1990, play upon ideas of protection vs. permeability and the illusion of safety. The videos from the early 90s move the viewer through endless spaces by repeating loops, letting the ideas unnfold in time as well as in space. With the current cibachrome prints the movement has been condensed to a single view.
To the viewer, Kalpakjian's always empty spaces are both alienating and inviting. The depicted space feels familiar to the point of deja-vu, yet, as the image is computer generated, that space does not actually "exist." The works' high degree of realism makes this fact uncomfortable. The spaces are sterile and hermetic to the point of seamless beauty. The details of air vents, emergency lights and public address systems are all features devised to facilitate safety in and form connections between spaces, as well as between the viewer and space. Kalpakjian's sharp focus on these suggest a tension between the interior and its apparent boundaries.
In the cibachrome prints, Kalpakjian generates the image digitally. He composes a space drawn from his imagination in three dimensions using the computer. Once a simple model of the space is created the details of surface, texture, light and tone are added. The artist chooses a virtual viewpoint within the space, and an image is rendered from that perspective by computer. A photographic print is then made from this rendering. Hence, the artist's process has little to do with photography until the final stage.
In this regard, Kalpakjian's work explores the difficult notion of 'photography as fiction' and therefore his pictures necessarily relate to the history of the medium as well as the technology of perception. Since photography's development over 150 years ago, the questions of "reality" and "representation" have been of central importance to debates about the medium. Kalpakjian's work contributes to the ongoing conversations about the instability of perception and an increased understanding of the fragility of many of the systems upon which we rely.
The Robert Miller Gallery