The viewers enter through a dark corridor into an entirely blackened space and find themselves surrounded by a watery void. Slowly a dark swimming figure becomes visible in the bottom corner of one wall. Two adjacent walls in the room have been covered with plexiglass, creating a darkly reflective surface. As the swimmer traverses the width of one plexiglass screen, she is mysteriously both reflected off the surface of the plexiglass onto the second screen and she is also mirrored into the depth of the second screen. The two screens create of third illusory screen which recedes into the background. A seeming trefoil structure joined at the center radiates out in three directions. Through the alchemy of reflection, a single swimmer has become three swimmers who start at the periphery of the screens and slowly make their way to the center. Here they meet in unexpected explosions of reflected light which disappear as the increasingly inchoate, yet symmetrical shapes merge into each other. As the swimmers converge on their shared inner edge, the remnants of their annihilation form an increasingly abstract Rorschach until their limbs are read as simply smaller and smaller emissions of light. This dramatic disappearance is followed by the relative silence of dark, moving water accompanied by a low, repetitive drone.
Because of the multiple reflections, the whole environment, including the floor and back wall, shimmers with reflected waves, and the viewer is encompassed by the same watery substance as the swimmers. As the swimming triplets move slowly toward each other and toward the shared edge of their planes, they are accompanied by a spoken text from The Visible and The Invisible by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and a low droning soundtrack underneath the text. The text operates as a sort of metaphysical poetry, a tumble of subliminal suggestions that can be picked up at any point, without significant loss of continuity...a sea of floating meaning. Enigmatic movements within the text meld with the motions of swimming and sea to produce crosscurrents and undertows within the medium of comprehension.
Brown, Gillian; Frick, Inga
University of Iowa. School of Art and Art History
Digital collection © The University of Iowa. All works are copyright the individual artist.
The Daily Palette Digital Collection
Installation (Visual works)