Richard Torchia


Richard Torchia

Study for Funes the Memorious (cloud contours traced in a camera obscura between 4:30p.m. and 5p.m., July 9, 2006, Baltimore, Maryland)
18 x 15 inches
Printed by C.R. Ettinger Studio; 2006 

Edition of 20


Richard Torchia works with primitive optical systems like the camera obscura, using them to examine the movement of time and light rather than imagery. Torchia aims not to record a frozen past, but to portray the state of the present moment and its impending future. Representation of existing conditions is instrumental to Torchia’s work, which aims to “perform” the depicted site. In Study for Funes the Memorious (cloud contours traced in a camera obscura between 4:30p.m. and 5p.m., July 9, 2006, Baltimore, Maryland), the artist references the short story “Funes the Memorious” by Jorge Luis Borges in which a young man isolates himself in a dark room as a way to cope with the condition of an extreme photographic memory that will not allow him to forget anything. The following is a sentence from the story (translated by James E. Irby) as it appears in Labyrinths (1962): “He knew by heart the forms of the southern clouds at dawn on the 30th of April, 1882, and could compare them in his memory with the mottled streaks on a book in Spanish binding he had only seen once and with the outlines of the foam raised by an oar in the Rio Negro the night before the Quebracho uprising.”

Torchia’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Torchia has developed projects for the historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia (1997-2001), Evergreen House (The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 2006), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1994), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1990). Torchia has also exhibited his work internationally in group exhibitions such as “Container 96” (Copenhagen, 1996),

“EAST International” (Norwich, England, 1997) and “Pilot2,” in conjunction with the Frieze Art Fair (London, 2005). In 2002, he collaborated with architect John Tuomey on a project for the Gallery of Photography, Dublin. “A Key to the Garden” (2002-05), his pavilion for at the Morris Arboretum (University of Pennsylvania), invited visitors to study an inverted panorama of the Butcher Sculpture Garden. Grants include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Since 1997 he has been director of the Arcadia University Art Gallery, Glenside, Pennsylvania. 

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