There is one house on my street that looks haunted, like the Addams Family could live there. Huge Victorian building, no lawn, peeling paint, cracked stained glass window at the top. But in spite of years of neglect, it is still easily the most impressive building on the block. Last week I met the owner and was invited inside to see his books. Same inside. The ravages of the years had not been able to subdue the sense of solidity and sacred space created by the filtered daylight, massive walnut furniture, oriental rugs, and Victorian architectural details.
The same sort of impressiveness comes through in the photography of Chicago artist Eric Holubow. The owner of the Victorian house and I were both drawn to his booth at the Hyde Park art fair later that day and spent several minutes looking at the photographs. His website uses the language of decay and disintegration to describe his vision, but being young he has missed the aspect of sacred space. In the most interesting of his photographs, once the building has been stripped of its cultural context, it still encloses, or maybe defines, or even creates a space that evokes…something. Something that defies time and transcends it.
He has also photographed a Gary, Indiana screw and bolt factory (see “Shirt Farm”) that was the scene of a scam involving a south side Chicago church that collected clothing to send to Africa. Instead, the clothing sits rotting in this abandoned factory. More images of the factory on this YouTube video.