He first approached it like he did the structures featured in his ’70s work—painting black circles, this time larger and resembling black holes or portals (he calls them “Dark Stars”), onto the decaying walls. The resulting images, three of which are on view in the gallery, are cropped closely around the painted voids, whose monochromatic surfaces are interrupted only by the glimmering reflections of the windows behind the camera.
Two years later, Divola returned to the house with some newfangled equipment—a GigaPan robotic camera base that rotates and snaps multiple images over a set time, then stitches them together. He found the rooms, and his original interventions, covered in new markings. 12070 Theodore Street had become a site that recorded the passage of time, the thoughts and gestures of those who passed through; much of the graffiti Divola found, inexplicably, was riddled with racist slogans. As he surveyed the changes that the space had undergone, thoughts of his own practice and how it had evolved began to occupy his mind. “I started thinking, here I am, this old guy, going into these old places and skulking around, doing this thing I’ve been doing for 40 years,” he muses, self-deprecatingly. “I got this weird feeling that I was haunting my past practice, becoming this kind of a specter in relationship to it. So I thought, ‘Why not go with that?’”