In the series Pseudo Documentation David DiMichele plays a game with his audience about the perception and reality of installations. You would think that the title would be a dead giveaway, but a “pseudo documentation” of what exactly? While they are presented as large-scale photographs, the scenes are actually miniature constructions of an installation created by the artist’s intricate hand with a keen eye for detail. At first glance one would assume that the photographs document a large -scale installation either completed by DiMichele or another artist. They are extensive scenes were materials overpower a white walled space using materials like metal, glass, and hoses that stretch out like tentacles. However upon closer inspection the facade disappears and small clues such as the miniature toy art-goers in attendance reveals that the entire installation was conceptualized on a small scale and presented in the guise of a much larger one. It’s a rather clever series because DiMichele addresses that installations can exist on any scale, and can illicit a conversation whether the photographs are real or “pseudo” documentation of the installation.
Why did you decide to pursue your artistic practice on the West Coast?
The art scene is younger in Los Angeles and it seems more experimental currently. I needed a great many years to develop my work, and I was able to do that in LA, since it is easier for artists to live here.
Why not New York?
I love New York, but I was born in California, and I like the way that here one can live adjacent to natural areas but still close to the cultural centers. New York is a more intensely urban environment, which would be difficult for me.
What do you find distracting about your urban environment?
I live in Altadena, in the San Gabriel Valley, which although right outside LA does not feel urban. A connection with nature has always been important in my work. I have been incorporating natural objects into my photographic set-ups and sculpture for many years.
What do you feel is unique to your city?
In terms of the art world, the amazing amount of activity by artists, galleries and museums. In the last 20 years, the growth has been phenomenal.
What do you find most appealing about New York?
All of the incredible art in the museums and galleries, particularly the historical artwork, which still has LA beat by a long shot.
What artist has influenced your practice the most?
Robert Smithson, for opening up new possibilities by breaking down the barriers between sculpture, installation and photography.
Images courtesy of the artist
THE 20+20 PHOTOGRAPHY ISSUE
David DiMichele is featured within Installation Magazine’s special 20+20 Photography Issue, which highlighted 20 Los Angeles and 20 New York City photographers. Download the full issue on your iPad and iPhone.