top of page

Create Your First Project

Start adding your projects to your portfolio. Click on "Manage Projects" to get started

I Have Only Known Grandeur in Ruins

Artist Website

March 15 - March 29, 2024
Alexis Orosa

How do we confront those who violate our bodies? How do we heal? How do we love them? And, how do we forgive? There is only, as Gestalt therapy says, “...healing by piecing together a narrative to find its place in your life” - something much harder to do after the artist spent an entire year taking quotidian portraits of the person he loved, but who nearly destroyed his body and his life.

In this series of exquisite mixed media prints, memories of this past relationship intrude upon the present and future. Portraits of the past are layered with landscapes of places the artist went to heal: Catalonia’s Costa Brava in the north of Spain, ancient Corsica and the sea-battered cliffs of Siracusa in Sicily. Visiting these ancient Greek colonies and Greece itself, he discovered the grandeur of an ancient past, now in ruins.

And so it is for both artist and subject: a past in ruins. Analogue portraits are ripped into incomplete fragments, ‘buried’ in digital landscapes. We often remember grandeur in fragments. Sometimes those fragments are beautiful. Sometimes we would rather forget them and leave them buried and broken.

Here, portraits become erasure poetry. Prints are subjected to fire and destruction. We only glimpse a piece of the subject, like the head of a statue, an arm or a torso. Incomplete. Like the murals of the Parthenon, eyes and faces are scratched out - stone and marble clawed off by exposure and time, revealing a natural landscape underneath. Regrowth, from destruction.
The subject and artist were bonded by a love of Greek mythology. The artist read Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian to him in hospital, a fictional memoir recounting the ill-fated story of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his love, Antinous; along with Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the tragic love story of Achilles and Patroclus - stories that both resonated personally and served as grave portents of the future.

Like ancient Greece, the Acropolis and its statues, these photographs are in pieces for us to find, restore and reassemble. We are unsure how they fit together, but we try, painstakingly. Moments of pain, grief and healing are excavated and remixed. By rearranging these ruins left in the portraits and the short film, perhaps we - and the artist - can find a way to confront, heal, forget and even, forgive.

Text by William Yang & Alexis Orosa

bottom of page