Andrea Modicas stunning new monograph, Human Being, grew out of a study on a group of over one hundred skeletons secretly buried a century ago. They were discovered in 1993, on the grounds of the Colorado Mental Health Institute, by prison inmates who were breaking ground to build the extension of an asylum for the criminally insane. After reading about the unidentified remains, Modica sought out and was granted permission to photograph them. In depicting the crania, Modica chose to maintain the compositional conventions of forensic photography, systematically centering her subject and presenting it on a level with the eye. Her vision, however, reveals in the cracks and sutures of the skulls expressive forms and patterns, and complex variations of light and shadow, which evoke the presence of a soul where science sees only an object. Dr. J. Michael Hoffman, Professor of Anthropology at The Colorado College, provides anthropological descriptions for each plate, helping to reconstruct a form of personal history. A Guggenheim fellow, Modica has been the subject of exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Her work is featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
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