A traveler visits Cairo, takes pictures, and sends them home. The images arrive with no words—the photographs are presumed to tell the whole story. But does one moment captured on film convey the breadth of sights, sounds, and smells of a day spent at the pyramids? Years later will it remind the traveler of the particular glare of the Egyptian sun or the emotions felt in the face of such physical history?
Through various media Spencer Finch, a constant traveler and scholar of history, confronts the difficulties of “truly” representing a subjective experience. What does a photograph leave out? Can words on a page really do it? In many of his works the burden of memory often placed on photographs and language is transferred onto a less-considered and more interactive medium: light. A trip to the ancient site of Troy resulted in Eos (Dawn, Troy), (2002), an installation of fluorescent lights that fan out across the gallery ceiling to recreate the bluish tint of day breaking on the Trojan Plain. This piece, like others by Finch, questions normative notions of color, language, vision, memory, perception, and representation.