Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Harvey's "The Room of Sublime Wallpaper" the first thing you see from the street are the backs of what are called flats, simple well made walls made thinly and used in theatre and movies because they are easily disassembled and transportable. This is art you cannot have the artist says, but it can go anywhere any time and put together fast. It, of course, didn't get made fast. These flats, and whats contained within, also indicate something else about the show, its relation to film, as what we encounter is cinematic in its presentation and overall dramatic feel. The conceptual piece "The Room Of The Sublime" is a retelling of movie making in still life, transforming film into installation, thus, If film is the accumulation of all the arts then installation is it's translator. You have the repetitive nature played out in the mirrors, framing each scene, the the wide angle of the multi sided display and the plot that continually plays out around you. That's we're the movie begins as we pause to enter. There are well painted pictures of mountains numerously displayed in angled mirrors of an even greater version to kaleidoscopic effect.

What was at the beginning an observation of highly skilled grandeur of triomphe l'oeil landscape we step into the confines that make up these reflections only to find its a careful trick of the eye in another form. Which is the disappointment we are supposed to experience. According to the artist as she says "romantic experience destroyed by arts supposed sublime experience of landscape"; Its as if we walked into the back scenes of the making of a painting. Reflections, photo assisted painted wallpaper, fakely drawn wainscoting, chincy mirror frames(?)- its all kitsch. And then this spectacle which drew us in- the cacophony of mountain pictures- have lured us onto center stage when we get closer to the mirrors and all we see are reflections of ourselves. Harvey emphasizes on framing in order to create the dialogue that the artist is having with her subject and us is also the same elements which draws us in to frame us. We are all drawn by things of beauty whether we can have it or not, and in this well crafted installation we are left to ponder ourselves and our relation to it as we are also also neatly framed in this flies eyes perspective to art in cinemascope.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting to connect Harvey’s piece to film; the similarities are apparent when one recalls opening shots in movies with helicopter views of mountainous landscapes. Here the artist provides the scene, so are the viewers the cinematographers who choose the camera angles as well as the actors in the film? I wonder if the kitsch value of the installation relates to our attraction to it: are we attracted to the beauty and the kitch-iness? Certainly “the disappointment we are supposed to experience” is central to this piece. Cacophony does not seem the best word to use to describe the mountain pictures, but all in all a very thoughtful review that shares the artist’s own perspective and original interpretation as well.