Josef Kristofoletti, 2016 Mural Artist-in-Residence
Public Wall: corner of Main and Taylor
Presented by One Columbia for Arts and History
Josef Kristofoletti’s mural Tokamak, named after a special type of nuclear fusion reactor, is meant to resemble and impress a digital waterline left on the side of a building. In this piece, the artist mixes the artificial and the organic, appropriating rainbow-like bands from chromatography–a process whereby the chemical components of a mixture are revealed through color–in such a way that they recall ribbons of gasoline floating on water.
In an era of drastic climate change, it is imperative that we draw attention to the source of our planet’s environmental ills while simultaneously acknowledging the potential for a cure. In the midst of the devastating, contrary beauty of mass pollution and environmental degradation, the artist identifies a reason for hope, invoking a symbol of human progress and unflagging optimism: the tokamak fusion reactor, referenced in the title for this mural, which offers a solution to our longstanding dependence on fossil fuels. Kristofoletti’s work disabuses us of our aesthetic preoccupation with, and complicity in, our own gradual destruction.
Austin, TX based artist Josef Kristofoletti was born in Nagyvarad, Transylvania. His work is primarily made up of mural paintings that address ideas about nature, technology, space and architecture. He was an artist in residence at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. As a founding member of the artist collective Transitantenna, he traveled throughout North America as part of a mobile living experiment that engaged local communities through public interventions. His work has appeared in several publications including Wired, PBS News Hour, New York Times, The Guardian, Boston Globe, Fast Company, Huffington Post, and Symmetry Magazine. In 2013 he represented the United States at the Bienal del Sur en Panama, in Panama City.