There are four exhibitions at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at the moment.
One of the exhibits is “A Wall is just a Wall” by Kapwani Kiwanga. Here, a hallway has been transformed with pink and blue lights. If you walk down this hall, you’ll find an entranceway to another section of the gallery with more of Kiwanga’s work. The gist of the thought behind her exhibit is the affect that architecture and design (such as colour) has on the behaviour of those exposed to it. It’s a bit disconcerting to walk through the lights – they affect your perception of space and make you feel a bit dizzy. Or at least that’s what happened to me!
Another hall. Another exhibit. This time, an installation by Latifa Echakhch called “Cross Fade”. You can see it in the Fleck Clerestory which is the long, high hallway that runs down the middle of the building. For the installation, the walls were painted light blue with white cloud shapes. Chunks of the outer layer of plaster were then removed and pieces left on the floor. The sky is falling! I can just see Chicken Little running around. The sky is falling! But in this case, he’d be right.
When I first saw the installation, I only saw the lower portion and I assumed that it was a neglected wall. It looks like many of the walls you find in lanes and alleys. To me it represented the cycle of building and decay that plays out all around us. I struggle with the idea that painting it to look like the sky changes how the piece should be perceived. Are we supposed to be upset that the sky is broken and lying on the ground? Is the use of the normal (plaster falling off a neglected wall) to try to show the abnormal (the sky falling apart) on purpose? If so, to what purpose?
below: Looking up towards the skylights. It is more apparent from this angle that the walls are painted to look like the sky. By the way, cross fade is the technique in sound or movie editing where a picture or sound gradually appears at the same time as another disappears.
From the online description of the exhibit: “…. Cross Fade evokes the remains of an action that has already taken place. Echakhch’s wall painting of the sky appears to be falling apart. Fragments of the sky still exist intact on the upper sections of the walls, out of reach, reminding us of its beauty. However, large parts of the sky lie on the ground, creating a peculiar feeling that something beyond our control is either happening or has just happened. The technique employed here references the classical fresco, a second skin that usually leads the viewer into a painted world, a trompe-l’œil, rendering the two-dimensionality of the wall invisible. On the contrary, Echakhch’s work shatters this illusion, rooting us in the present, which like a cross fade, is caught between the past and the future.”
Leaving the hall theme behind, the last two exhibits are:
below: Part of “On Fishes, Horses and Man” by Jonathas de Andrade
below: And “The One Who Keeps on Giving” by Maria Hupfield
All exhibits continue until mid May.