[image-1] The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon, featuring new work by Italian artist Hitnes, opens at the Halsey on August 17 with a reception on Fri. Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
The exhibition is a culmination of The Image Hunter project in which Hitnes, who had an artist residency at the Halsey in 2017 and 2018, retraced Audubon’s travels. In a video about the project Hitnes says, “I always wanted to know what it felt like to be an explorer or a naturalist in the 1800s.”
The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon has become a means of research by the Halsey Institute given the connection between Charleston and Audubon’s legacy. For those who don’t know, Audubon spent decades tracking and drawing birds in hopes to catalog the wildlife of a young country in his seminal 1813 work, Birds of America. So where does Charleston come in? Well, Audubon actually tracked birds around Charleston and even worked out of a studio in the Lowcountry home of his friend John Bachman. College of Charleston also maintains a rare collection of Audubon’s work, including a full set of Birds of America, in its Special Collections.
Fast forward 200 years later, and Italian street artist Hitnes has embarked on a journey to retrace Audubon’s adventures. By following his exact cross-country path, Hitnes has recreated the visual documentation of Audubon’s birds. Hitnes’ exhibit will not only discuss the meaning of devoting one’s life to an obsession like Audubon, but will also explore his own journey, and personal documentation. The exhibit also features the clothes he wore, the artifacts he found, and a feature-length documentary of his trip.