Selected by Fawn Potash
“The Apollo Prophecies” document a mystical ellipsis in the space-time continuum: mid-20th century American and Russian Astronauts and a lost Edwardian-era lunar expedition have all journeyed to the moon using the various technologies available to them in their respective eras. Upon the bleak cratered landscape they encounter one another–with the Edwardians apprehending the arrival of the ‘nauts as gods fulfilling a long-awaited prophecy. Employing the narrative techniques of Italian early Renaissance religious fresco, Kahn/Selesnick depict the lunar explorers traveling to the moon, surveying the lay of the land, and returning to Earth in a sequence of multiple sequential episodes all contained along the spectrum of one long, continuous black-and-white panoramic photograph 10 inches high and 48 feet long.
In addition to the panorama, for which images of live actors in sets and shots of miniature models were combined, the project includes other documentation of these lunar voyages: a cabinet containing moon rocks and the chemical apparatus for precipitating Edwardian Moon Paste from them; other sculptural artifacts; portraits of the various explorers and astronauts; drawings and schematic notes of the various spacecraft and spacesuits, ranging from chamber pot-equipped wooden sleds and buffalo skin coats to titanium-strutted rovers and pressurized nylon; hallucinatory video footage; and visionary text furnishing fragments of cosmology and hagiography.
“Apollo Prophecies” began its development in 2002 while Kahn/Selesnick were artists-in-residence at Toni Morrison’s Atelier Program at Princeton University. Atelier Program and Princeton Physics student Erez Lieberman contributed the text to the project.
Fawn Potash writes: Kahn/Selesnick’s photos originally attracted me because of the object like quality of the prints. Their first series looking like it had been discovered in a long forgotten drawer, creased and folded, illustrating some familiar but long forgotten myth. I like that they use photography like cinema. Maybe all photographs are fictions based on real life, but Kahn/Selesnick’s work exploits that veritas.
Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick received their BFAs from Washington University. Their collaborative works have been widely exhibited in solo shows at the Yancey Richardson Gallery, NYC; Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona; Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY; Pepper Gallery, Boston, MA; and the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England. Group shows include those at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. They have published two books, Scotlandfuturebog and City of Salt, and their work has been featured in Albany Times Union, Aperture, Art in America, Village Voice, Harper’s, New York Times, Boston Globe, and Provincetown Arts. Their work is in public and private collections including those at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Boston Public Library, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.