James Welling - Cento Museum of Contemporary Arts of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (MACS)
Four years after Metamorphosis, the retrospective exhibition which the S.M.A.K. devoted to James Welling’s work by revisiting some twenty series of his photographs created since 1970, the MACS has now invited the artist to present his current photographic work on architecture and ancient Greek and Roman statuary.
The exhibition’s title, Cento, refers to the ancient practice of assembling fragments of various poetic or musical works. This latest series began in 2018 at the Met in New York, when Welling photographed the bust of a Roman empress of Syrian origin, Julia Mamaea, which he then printed in a range of colors based on the early photographic printing method of collotype. Moved by the fluidity of the dyes imbuing the portrait and the statue’s stone and returning color to the face, Welling realized that this faded, translucent rendering achieved a twofold step back in time: to the polychrome statues of Antiquity and to the black & white photolithography of the first albums that documented 19th century archaeological missions.