The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eva Brandl BIRDS OF PREY they own the night / they own the day January 6–February 14, 2014

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EVA BRANDL
Birds of Prey
They own the night/
They own the day

Eva Brandl’s intent, to arouse a mnemonic experience of space, has succeeded for me.

I am standing in the doorway assessing the contents inside the exhibition hall. A combination of sounds, digital prints and sculptural objects fill the space. My first phenomenological reaction to the installation is that of a long ago buried memory of being in a fabric store with my mother as a child.

The intent of my presence there was to find a work I could describe in detail but it didn’t quite work out that way. I was involved with the total content as one piece. I zeroed in on a work entitled Curtain Wall. It is a sculptural object that looks like rows of fabric, as you would find them in a fabric store. The piece is composed of cardboard tubes held up by tripods and covered with chamois leather.

I go deeper inside the memory being evoked. I can almost see my mother hovering over the fabrics she desired, touching them, evaluating her budget, imagining what she would conjure up with it, where her creation would be in her universe: a dress at a social event, a curtain in her kitchen, chairs covered to look new again? As a child, I was bored and exasperated waiting after her so I could be taken out of this heavy obsolete place.

The exhibition is accompanied by huge digital prints of taxidermy birds of prey with eyes firmly set upon their kill. Of course they are looking right at you as you move in the space. I was still in the fabric store with my mother so for me they became curtains, couches, and bedspreads.

I listened to the howl sounds as I stood between two cones a large stunned bird looking at me. But I felt the deadness of the animal. These are taxidermy animals, the hoots are a recording, I am bemused that memories from my childhood resurface to consciousness like ancient artifacts in the desert because of the juxtaposition of the objects.

From this position, I begin to search for the soul of the exhibition. I return to the sculptural object Curtain Wall because it is the singular object that defines the way I experienced the totality of the exhibition. I am now seeing more details like the natural colors of the chamois leather, its softness; I notice that there are three tripods and they are black; I notice that this object does not quite fit with the prints on the wall that are on strong sharp canvases or the other sculptural objects that are of mat aluminum. But this is the one object that took me on a time travel expedition where I was again a child walking through a fabric store with her long gone mother.

-LENA GHIO

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