The past is just stories we tell ourselves.
This City (I thought) is so horrible that its mere existence and perdurance, though in the midst of a secret, contaminates the past and future and in some way even jeopardizes the stars.
So this story will not finish with some tomb to be visited in pious memory. For the smoke that rises from crematoria obeys physical laws like any other: the particles come together and disperse according to the wind, which propels them. The only pilgrimage, dear reader, would be to look sadly at a stormy sky now and then.
Architecture has become sort of an exotic fruit. It just sort of happens in certain places where it gets watered. The more it becomes a special thing, the less chance we have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. What architecture is and how it fits into the community is a story I want to tell…. If we can deal with the common ground [in] the profession then maybe we can deal better with common ground between all professions.
The amount of information available to us has expanded almost infinitely…. The organization of disparate pieces into a coherent narrative is one of the crucial distinctions between twentieth- and twenty-first century assemblage. Although like their predecessors they are amalgams of discrete objects, the structure of the sculptures of the twenty-first century resemble not a newspaper, but a McSweeny’s magazine, with its individual stories and articles printed in multiple typefaces and interrupted with footnotes, rhetorical inserts and illustrations.
— Laura Hoptman, “Going to Pieces in the 21st Century” from Unmonumental, 2007
According to Roti’s own statement, Allegory does in fact have a very precise and unambiguous meaning for him personally: fishes represent humanity, the key represents the ability to stop time, and the moon represents uncontrollable forces of nature. For the artist, there is a neat one-to-one correspondence between images in the mural and their meanings in the real world. But the glossary needed for that translation exists in the artist’s head, not in any commonly understood, generally available mythos. That’s when audiences create their own meanings. In the privacy of a gallery or the controlled context of academic settings, this act is almost always benign. Many artists even cherish the ways in which audiences help them create meaning. But when the work is placed in a broader public space, those meanings occasionally get out of control.
Many contemporary artists have taken these ideas to a twenty-first-century extreme. This neosymbolist work can be almost photorealistic, yet it specifically rejects any commonly accessible reality or any established pictorial language. The more recognizable and readable the figures in the work, the more outlandish other elements of the composition must be in order to free it from the tether of common experience. Hence the explosion of pattern, color, and surreal narrative in many such works. The work of, for example, Marcy Starz, Jason R. Butcher, and Joe Tsambiras exemplify this mode of working. All three local artists, along with others working elsewhere such as Camille Rose Garcia and Os Gêmeos, might be considered neosymbolists whose exquisitely drafted works are replete with private symbols and obscure, self-contained narratives.
There’s nothing so different as one museum from another. You must be pretty stupid to repeat yourself. I use the same language to tell a different story.