Sunday, February 1, 2009

Review of Village in ART PAPERS

Came across a review of Village in the latest ART PAPERS magazine. Interestingly the reviewer (Mari Dumett) mentions the emptiness of the dollhouses. What you see inside is untended dilapidation - peeling wallpaper, carpets curling up, dust and spider webs, highlighting this emptiness. After initially appearing to indicate human presence (my interest in electric lights) the lights in this installation emphasize abandonment which introduces "a subtle foreboding of collective trauma and loss". Dumett lists some of the stories that the artwork suggests - "rural exodus, urban migration, social class and industry-dependent communities" - all reasons for homes being empty, or, in fact, not functioning as homes. Dumett also links this absence with the negative space usually described by Whiteread's work. Great insight into an installation for those of us who didn't see it.

Though I resolutely focus on the positive there's an experience of absence in the USA that I haven't yet come to terms with. On the road between Newark Airport and NYC, for example, and a recent night trip to Tennessee I have felt a chill desolation. In the 80's I used to hitch-hike at night in the UK and I didn't feel this emptiness. Though I was in places that could be defined as similarly empty, I thrived on it. Perhaps I am different now.