After his narrative color images of his family were included in the Museum of Modern Art’s seminal exhibition Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort
(1991), David Prifti’s work evolved toward mixed media, yet kept the same genealogical focus. Old and new family photographs now adorn decayed and decrepit found materials through Prifti’s use of liquid photographic emulsion. Everyday images become haunting, transformed as such into ancestral artifacts and memory talismans. Again and again, the meeting or parting of faces and family surfaces in his creations, and becomes almost chrysalis-like in effect. The fragments in their nature, appearance, and methodology speak of how memory is constructed, deconstructed, obstructed, and reconstructed. One is reminded of ancient roman ruins, the faces of long dead peering from shards and debris.
Prifti’s work shares kinship with two ethnic sculptural forms: African minkondi and Mexican fotoescultura. Also known as nail figures, minkondi were sacred carved figures into which nails were driven as a form of oath taking. Dating primarily from the 1920s to 1980s and made by traveling salesmen, fotoescultura consisted of hand colored photographs on carved bases of wood. In both of these objects, sacred and secular unite.
Prifti is represented locally by Gallery NAGA and by Rice/Polak Gallery in Provincetown; he is included in collections such as MoMA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is a recipient of numerous grants, including the NEA and Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Prifti received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and his MFA from Yale University. He teaches at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School.
I am interested in the elusive, imperfect nature of memory. These assemblages come from my desire to explore my life through the things that have shaped me; relationships, family bonds, memories, loss and death.
Visit www.prifti.net for more information about this artist.
CAPTION: David Prifti (Concord, MA), Linked, 2004, photographic emulsion on wood, 23 x 15 ½ x 2 inches, courtesy of the Artist and Gallery NAGA. Prifti is also represented Rice/Polak Gallery in Provincetown and included in collections such as MoMA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is a recipient of numerous grants, including the NEA and Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Prifti received MFA from Yale University and teaches at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School.