Body-Wall Maple Cottage


In this work a false wall made out of plywood wound its way around an abandoned cottage first blocking the staircase, then creating a false passageway that began at the original door and continued until the front wall of the house itself. This new space created a hybrid space in-between the original house and the new wall and thereby set up a dialectic between past and future with the spectator mediating between the two. The visitors were transformed into performance artists and actors and were made aware, by a small light, of a viewing device through which they were meant to look to see an enclosed domestic space reminiscent of the places of inspection so often used by Sherlock Holmes. The optical pathway for this inspection was a hole cut out of the eye of an old portrait painting that hung on the inside of this simulated do­mestic space. This opening in the painting was lined up on one hand with a hole in the wall itself and on the other with the viewer’s eyes. Together they created a machinic assemblage that was aligned with a mirror hung directly across the room which reflected the antique painting, mentioned above, and the eye of the viewer that through his or her participation was now part of. The viewer’s eye, as it looked through the painting from behind the wall, now became part of the paint­ing itself. The hidden passageway became an uncanny space in which the fragmented viewer through a transformational process of the experience of becoming an actor in this architectural scenario became a whole body again not as himself but as a painting with all the meanings pertaining to the nature of portraiture itself.