March 2, 2000 - April 1, 2000
Carlos Diaz’ photographic collages of an abandoned Coney Island poignantly and playfully draw parallels between work and play. Drawing on his past experience as a draftsman for General Motors, his mechanical landscapes are meticulously executed, as well as fantastical and whimsical. A review in “Spot” magazine observes, “ƒIn blurring the lines between what is really part of Coney Island and what is invented, Diaz forces us to question these paradoxes as much as he forces us to accept them.”
From #28 Blue Sky Gallery Yearbook:
For me, photographs resonate in a space somewhere between that which we perceive to be fact and that which is not. This dichotomy, between fact and fiction, is central to my current work.
The Invented Landscape images utilize the amusement park environment of Coney Island, New York as their backdrop. Into this context steel plate engravings, taken from nineteenth century patent and engineering journals, are placed. Rather than rely solely on an optical rendering of literal objects in a real space, these objects are, in part, “physically constructed” using incompatible subject matter to reference a literal reality. In the end, the results are either literal records of fictional space or invented landscapes constructed of wood and brick and steel…..or they can be both.
The individual parts and pieces of engravings, used for completing each landscape, are taken from highly detailed studies of mechanical inventions. They are from a period at the turn of the century, commonly referred to as the American Industrial Revolution. The inventions relate primarily to manufacturing, mining, farming and transportation. The relationship between these inventions and the Coney Island landscape was significant in that the prosperity resulting from the Industrial Revolution created a working class who could now consume time, solely, through leisure and amusement.
The resulting collage is only which merges the “Coney Island of the Mind” with that of cold, hard steel. It is then, a fusion of the functional forms of labor and the fun and fantasy of the carnival. One finite, the other infinite.