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In 2003, Iñaki Bonillas (Mexican, b. 1981) introduced a vast photo archive that he inherited from his grandfather, J. R. Plaza, into his conceptual investigation of photography. Since then, this extraordinarily rich material (thousands of portraits, many of them theatrically staged by Plaza; landscapes; souvenirs; and casual snapshots) has been subjected to a number of operations that have explored its formal and material qualities.
For his Dia Artist Web Project commission, Bonillas is digitizing the archive, while simultaneously creating an extensive index of associated words that “mirrors” the image database. The relation between these two levels unfolds as the visitor explores the possibilities of matching text and image. Starting with a set of about 400 core images, the work will progressively expand until the entire J. R. Plaza Archive (approximately 3,800 images) is mapped out.
Iñaki Bonillas is collaborating with Mexico-based artist and programmer Iván Abreu and the design studio Taller de Comunicación Gráfica on this project. The artist wants to express his heartfelt gratitude to all those who helped him build Words and Photos: Ana Bidart, Hernán Bravo Varela, Claire Dilworth, Ash Duhrkoop, Simon Greenberg, Valerie French, Cristin Hughes, Tanya Huntington, Rafael Lemus, Lorena Marrón, Robin Myers, María Minera, Marine Pariente, Jonathan Patkowski, Kristin Reger, Sara Tucker, and very specially Diego Montesinos.
Iñaki Bonillas was born in Mexico City in 1981, where he currently lives and works. Recent solo exhibitions include The Story of the Sinking Ship Which Is a Ship and Yet Is Not, LIGA Space for Architecture, Mexico City (2013); J.R. Plaza Archive, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2012); and Double Chiaroscuro, Les Rencontres d'Arles, France (2011). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including The Imminence of Poetics, São Paulo Bienal (2012); Resisting the Present, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012); Little Theater of Gestures, Kunstmuseum Basel and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2009); and Utopia Station, Venice Biennale (2003).
Iván Abreu was born in Havana in 1967 and lives and works in Mexico City. His work integrates art, design, science, and technology. He is the recipient of the 2012–14 grant from the National System of Art Creators of FONCA, and previous honors include The Prix Ars Electronica (2012) and the CINTAS Foundation Award in Visual Arts, (2011–12).
This project is made possible in part by Dia’s Board of Trustees and Commissioning Committee: Kirk August Radke, Chair; Marguerite S. Hoffman; Jill and Peter Kraus; and Leslie and Mac McQuown. Generous support has also been provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.