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Patrick Lakey Berlin Zoo, 1988

September 21 – October 26, 2019

Taken as series of Kodachrome travel shots in the photographer’s earliest working years, “Berlin Zoo, 1988,” 2017 registers the failures of colonial era collecting and categorization. The images of animals in their false habitats captures the melancholic conditions of confinement, and in turn, reverberate outward to a city that itself was caged for almost three decades. 

As we near the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, these images have been retrieved from the archive to be re-contextualized and exhibited – a reflection for both the artist and ourselves. The failures of centuries of a conquering vision of nature have now resulted in an ongoing sixth mass extinction, and the lessons of a liberated Berlin seem long gone, as cages and walls echo through our contemporary American life. 

This exhibition consists of twelve of fifteen from the series, printed analog as Cibrachome (IlfoChrome) reversal prints in 2016. This process, itself a lost art, has been supplanted by digital techniques and will soon cease to exist.

Also included in the exhibition is “Navy Trunk,” 2017, a handmade duplication of a Korean War-era Navy trunk, which were built upon ships and used to send home personal effects. Again alluding to cold war art and geo-politics, the sculpture is another study of confinement and memory. 

Patrick Lakey