Michelle Arcila

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Artist's Statement

Lay Me Down

“What is it that you contain? The dead. Time. Light patterns of millennia opening in your gut. Every minute, in each of you, a few million potassium atoms succumb to radioactive decay. The energy that powers these tiny atomic events has been locked inside potassium atoms ever since a star-sized bomb exploded nothing into being […] Your first parent was a star.” -Jeanette Winterson, Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles

I have a preoccupation with the symbiotic relationship between growth and decay. Life leads to decay, and decay nurtures life. In most things I see, I'm aware of a presence that is no longer there, the moments that have come before. My photographic series Lay Me Down strives to show the inevitable cycle of nature by focusing on the fragile border between what once was and what may one day be.


Michelle Arcila was born in New York in 1980. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2002 with a BFA in photography. Arcila has exhibited in Poland, Australia, Belgium, Norway, Paris, Italy and New York. Her work has been published in Vogue Korea, Time Out NY, Metro Pop, Les Inrockuptibles and Downbeat. She has photographed and served as art director for numerous record covers. Her work also appears in a number of private collections. She currently divides her time between Norway and Brooklyn, NY where she lives with her husband and daughter.