Marcus Robinson: Rebuilding The World Trade Center
Before embarking on the behemoth project of documenting the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, artist Marcus Robinson was an architectural photographer living in London. Now working from ground zero in New York for the past 10 years, he has been fully immersed and devoted to expressing the landscape on-site through painting, drawing and video. On September 11, 2014, Robinson’s labor of love will come full-circle with the U.S. television premiere of “Rebuilding The World Trade Center” on The History Channel, which in this second iteration includes an ever-evolving series of images, footage and artwork.
Walking into the artist’s expansive studio – a floor in one of the WTC towers still in progress – large-scale paintings of men at work are interspersed with drawings and sketches of life on the ground. Robinson describes wanting to create a visual poem about reconstruction, healing and perseverance, and in so doing has captured much of the movement and color that give powerful meaning to this narrative. When asked if his original vision for the multi-media project shifted after being on location, Robinson explains how his concept evolved toward focusing on the community of construction workers as the protagonists.
Parallel to the documentary, Robinson’s minimalist tableaus tell the story of builders and laborers. The process between his mediums are inextricably linked, “My particular way of time-lapse filming captures a visually unusual world, and reflects the passage of time in a way that the naked eye cannot comprehend by just watching,” explains the artist. “I find time-lapse to be a very meditative process, as I will often be standing beside my camera contemplating any given view for hours. This is where there is a profound connection with drawing and painting … It makes it possible to bypass some of the 'thinking' that can limit drawing or block the simple joy of being present and connecting with the moment.”
Robinson will be there until the very last tower is completed, and already has plans for a final feature art documentary. “Rebuilding The World Trade Center” is at its heart a layered oeuvre about progress, and shares the lens of an artist giving voice to those on the ground. Through various creative expressions, Robinson will continue to interpret the reshaping of the New York skyline.
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