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Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura Image of The Philadelphia Museum of Art East Entrance
in Gallery with a de Chirico Painting
72” x 92 ½”
Commissioned by The Print Center
© Abelardo Morell, 2006

Abelardo Morell transformed Gallery #171 in the Modern and Contemporary wing of The Philadelphia Museum of Art into a camera obscura. Through a small hole in one of the gallery’s windows the image of the museum’s East Entrance becomes a piece of art on display along with The Soothsayer’s Recompense (1913) by Surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico. 

The mirroring effect of the interior gallery wall results in such beautiful instances as the touching of the arch in de Chirico’s painting with the museum façade arch, as if lovers that could once only call to each other can now be together.  The ladder, which perhaps at first seems out of place, provides a sense of scale. It helps tell the story of the gallery’s transformation for this project, while at the same time mimics the arch in the painting and museum’s façade.

This is Morell’s third camera obscura image made in a museum, including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and is the first one to be photographed in color. The success of this image, with its intensity of color and sense of the museum’s grandeur, has encouraged Morell to launch a new series of color camera obscura images in large spaces.

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