Where House Used to Be (II)
Solo Exhibition at Comfort Station Logan Square
Chicago,IL Nov. 4th-26th 2017
“Where House Used to Be” stems from an inherited collection of photos of a house in rural, central Florida. Never having lived or experienced this home built and owned by Daniel’s great grandparents, the only way of discerning the memory of this place was through these inherited archives of the past. After a period of obsessing over the property through these photos, Daniel travelled to the site to compare his imaginings of the home with the actual thing. Being decades after the original photos were taken, we can begin to see a glimpse into how nature has slowly eroded the structures. Time has taken hold, but their form and spirit remains.
Hojnacki alters original prints as well as scans of his great grandfather’s thorough notes on the day to day labors and maintenance of the house. These notes present us a timeline of obsessions into one’s preservation of the physical presence of the home. Photos become difficult to discern, bathed in algae and the water collected from the site, Bear Lake, where the house stands, and layering them with his own photos taken. They are transformed into ghostly glows and wisps, dissolving and pooling into hazy shadows.
Daniel Hojnacki’s work reflects a fascination with the subjectivity of human perception and the evolution of memory and reality over time. Brittle green stacks of old photos, completely degraded by water submersion, call to mind natural disasters and lost mementos. We use them as a tool to aid with memory -- to compensate for our own imperfect brains -- but they are also fallible. A cut up old projection screen, like the ones families used to sit around to reminisce, lets projected light seep through it into the space beyond, like memories slipping through cracks. An audio recording of the artist’s grandmother describing the house her parents built has been dissected and layered into a dreamy haze of sonic meandering.
This series represents a divergence from personal narratives to explore more universal concepts of home via ambiguity. Hojnacki’s micro-focused and moody work invites us to read-into and relate viscerally. It’s not about the house or his personal experience of it as much as the uncanny feeling of being physically present with a thing which had only previously existed in the mind. Although he is imagining a time and place which is tied to his own family history, he has left plenty of space for our own stories to settle in.
Special thank you to Columbia College Chicago Photography Department for their support and generosity in the making of this project.