AFTERGLOW: DISTURBED AIR (INSTALLATION)
CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
View Catalogue here.
was held at Gallery Seescape, Chiang Mai, Thailand. This exhibition consisted of an installation,
, shown above, as well as a series of 12 photographs and 5 sculptures (photographs and sculptures are not featured here). The work was developed from a range of materials including salt, silicone, hair, dyed sawdust, fabric, thread, reflective glass beads and electronic light elements. Throughout the work viewers could discover holes and hollows in which simultaneously attractive and unsettling organic textural scapes could be found.
As we pass through rooms, our traces remain. These traces may manifest as disturbed air, warmth, debris or energies in our wake. The artist, Joseph Beuys chose to sit in recently vacated chairs at airports to feel the remaining warmth from other people. Indicators of a person’s recent presence may also include their scent, the presence of debris, such as their hair or crumbs, or perhaps the indicator is more subtle, something more intangible or spiritual.
When I walk into an empty room, that contains the unexpected presence of another person’s wake, I am sometimes caught in the inertia of the unexpected and often unwelcome intimacy of that person and at the same time, I experience the emptiness and ‘lifelessness’ of the room. The room becomes a space in a liminal state, containing a sense of the uncanny.
This feeling of being caught in the wake of another person’s recent presence is the focus of Michelle’s work. It is a complex feeling and it is made manifest by the type of space, the specific indicators of the person’s presence and one’s imagination. This presence may be perceived anywhere from comforting to threating. Although specifics may vary, the core feeling of this experience that Michelle aims to capture is the uncanny or the unheimlich. This feeling is a state of simultaneous familiarity and discomfort.
The feeling of the uncanny or unheimlich may also seem dreamlike as the presence the recent visitor feels familiar but they remain mysterious and faceless. One may build many simultaneous images of the recent visitor in their imagination but the visitor’s identity may remain uncertain.
The size and configuration of the visited room is not relevant, only the feeling of the unheimlich. In Michelle’s work the room is secondary and she has represented a composite of many rooms that refers to domestic and industrial spaces. The sensory response to this experience and the feeling is all that remains.
© Michelle Day. All Rights Reserved. Images may not be used without permission of the artist.