Julie Rafalski

Photographed Building

The drawn hand, the painted hand, the collaged hand, the photographed hand, the written hand - can lift buildings and move stars out of the way. It can reroute rivers - as long as it belongs to a sheet of paper or canvas, and not to you or me.

The drawn or photographed building can be cut it up to pieces so that it becomes rubble. I can look at it through a telescope, microscope or prism so that it becomes a building that reaches the sky. I can paint several annexes on it or erase several levels from it.

Mies van der Rohe's buildings are at my mercy. They are neither tall nor made of steel. They stand not in Berlin or in Chicago or in New York but are lying quietly on my desk. The history of the Neue Nationalgalerie also includes the history of it on my bookshelf, on someone's postcard or on a tourist's photograph. How many times has it appeared in a photograph? And to how many places has it traveled as a photograph? How many eyes have seen these photographs? Next to what other photographs has it been side by side? In what other buildings has this photographed building been?

Improvisations, slide projection, 2014

The hand that belongs to a sheet of paper -or perhaps this screen now- smiles at the hand that draws, presses the shutter release button or types these words.