And it was all yellow…
- some dude.
It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
This story has been going for some time now. It began with a man named Henri and it examined his world, proclivities and behaviours through everybody else’s worlds, proclivities and behaviours. Are we not, after all mirrors to the things around us? Sometimes though, like catching a glimpse of oneself in a distorted reflection; that image changes. It changes not only the image itself, but causes a kind of reassessment of that image throughout an evolving and shifting context.
And then sometimes again, the image that we know so well turns out to be not an image at all but a series of assumptions. Assumptions and misconceptions based on the most superficial of guidelines; costume, gesture, speech – all easily adopted, if one has a sense to. There have been times throughout history when it has been more efficient, certainly, to adopt an entire gender as a cloaking mechanism, and this is what we have been doing to some extent, as two female artists inhabiting the mind (however successfully) of a fictional male character.
So now. The beauty and slipperiness of fiction allows us the concurrency of many contradictory realities. This story, which has constructed nine years of inalienable truths is at a departure point, as if a parallel hallway has opened in front of it, and this story, which is non-linear and has actively slipped between concepts of reality and concepts of fantasy with little loyalty to either has decidedly jumped tracks. All truth from here on out, should be taken with both a grain of salt, and a suspension of disbelief, as this exhibition in particular is more about the act of the transition than in explaining to the audience what was or what will be, although there are recurrent symbols used which might suggest one thing or another.
There is as always, an allusion to the geological in regard to the psychological schema of our main character. Here, this exists with its accretions and declinations as a kind of acidic sulfur pool. In 1910 Booker T Washington compared the sulfur mines in Sicily to the closest reflection of hell on earth he was ever likely to witness, and there is that, certainly, but also an unexpected beauty in the transforming of chemicals under heat and pressure into a foreign and alien landform. It is this awkwardness or foreignness which is of interest here, along with the transformation and the pressure.
Architecturally, the constructions which inhabit the gallery space define the borders of that thin membrane which delineates between history and now, truth and fiction, active and passive. They exploit the nature of transience and the sedentary and determine that the audience make choices in deciding the nature of their own narrative.
Historically the project has also examines madness, so there is something also, with regard to this gender difference, about the early perception of the holistic possession of the female body, where the body is an inarticulate puppet to the ailments and symptoms of the mind, and that the female body was something to be owned, documented and examined by the scientific community with far little regard than was afforded the male sex: the female body became a public possession and has such, been interrogated ever since under that panoptic societal scrutiny.