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David Nyzio

Observation Platform


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Placed in the lower level of 500 Sampsonia Way, the work consists of two elements that change during the installation because of natural processes. In each element, the process is fundamental to the art. The artist writes, "I am using two interactive elements to investigate form."

The first element is a curtain, hanging from a curved rod at the ceiling, with its hem resting in a water reservoir. Tubes pump water up into a pocket, from which it drips continuously, to keep the curtain soaked. Algae, introduced into the water tank, begin to grow and coat the surface of the curtain. Huge parking lot lights provide the light needed for the algae to grow, and they shine through the curtain to make luminous the ever-increasing green color.

The installation retains a very fresh scent because the curtain provides a constant filter. This blue-green algae, the artist notes, "is simple, and purged of all flaws which have frozen its form unchanged, for millions of years."

The second element is comprised of chrome-plated steel plates, which hang freely from the ceiling. On one side, the image of Michelangelo's David has been acid-etched onto the plates. Where the protective chrome has been removed, the plate begins to rust and reveal the image. On the back side of the plates is etched the image of David – the artist himself – which is treated in a similar fashion.

Artist Statement

Being a good observer, I feel, is of extreme importance. The fact that we can see, however, doesn't necessarily mean we're good at observing. Our senses are deceptively empowering. We assume them to be extraordinary, when in fact they are mediocre at best. I've discovered through a history of misidentifications and false correlations, the need for conscious and focussed attention to this matter. I've also found that layered observations within varied engaged activities tend to alter my general philosophy about life and morphology. My art-making process takes me through a wide range of experiences. These varied experiences function as a training ground for observation, and a deflocculent for the components of understanding.


David Nyzio: June 27, 1992 - January 31, 1993
About The Artist

David Nyzio is an artist whose work brings together science and art. Born in Massachusetts, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Massachusetts in 1982. In 1983, Nyzio moved to Brooklyn, New York, and earned his MFA from Pratt Institute.

Nyzio’s inspiration stems from his interest in natural history. He uses materials such as charcoal, algae, cyanobacteria, and insects to represent concepts of science in several forms of art.

His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Attleboro Museum, Attleboro, MA; Postmasters Gallery, New York; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI; New Museum of Contemporary Art; New York; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; the DIA Foundation, New York, and many more.

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