Joseph Desler Costa


Urethane Foam and Gaff Tape Construction (2015)

My compositions attempt to recreate the texture of a reality that has widened and opened via our ever-present screens and devices. A reality where the digitally constructed and altered image imposes itself on our notions and understandings of space, place, intimacy and desire. Recent works physically mimic this digital reality by using in camera techniques, cut paper and studio constructions to reflect a condition in which identity and desire are fluid from one moment to the next, and where everything one wants is always available, at any moment, forever. Here, the individual is secondary to the material he or she sees and collects, and individual character is supplemented and replaced by the infinite elements available to us. Objects of mass production and consumption become vehicles for transcendence and beauty as they are re-contextualized and reshaped. Our temporal experiences exist in a state of constant flux, shifting between a physical reality, and the seduction and distraction of the more desirable illusions forever presented and available to us. I am interested in a hyper-stylized image that exists in a liminal state between a solid specific and glitteringly generality. These circular photographic narratives, undercut by strangeness and artifice, are just abstract enough to be simultaneously melancholic and sublime.

Joseph Desler Costa lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Florence, Italy. His photographs and films recontextualize objects, symbols and their meanings in a post-internet world reshaped by interconnectivity, screens, constant access and desire. Works have been exhibited at Arsenale Venezia, Italy, the International Center of Photography, New York, Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR, Sala de Arte Moderna, Santiago, Chile and Camera Club of New York as well as appearing in the The New York Times Magazine, Visual Studies Workshop Journal, and Musee Magazine. Costa is a visiting faculty member at Florence University of the Arts, teaching in the departments of Film, New Media and Photography. After studying Film at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) in Cuba, Costa received a MFA from ICP Bard College in New York and is co-founder of the artist-run publishing collective Silent Face Projects.

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