Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just Seen and Dashed Off - Pepon Osorio

I have admired Pepón Osorio's socially engaged work for a long time so i was happy to see one of his community-specific installations at the Williams College Museum of Art today. The installation was first created and displayed in a former car dealership in North Adams and a whole group of volunteers helped create it. Drowned in a Glass of Water came out of the artist's engagement with two local families and condenses their histories and stories into a multi-media installation on a rotating stage that is divided into two spaces representing an interior and an exterior. The living room scene is overstuffed with furniture, tchotchkes, video screens and figures. They meld individual family stories with those of popular culture myths and cliches of happy homes. A pile up of toy police cars re-enacts a movie chase gone wrong, a whole collection of Hummel Figures sweetens the turmoil. The bodies of the three mannequins in this arrangement are covered with bandaids, symbolizing the fragility of the individual in such surroundings. The side representing the exterior thematizes nature and nurture, and sickness and health, mediated through video screens, mirrors, and artificiality.

Pepón Osorio: Drowned in a Glass of Water, Williams College Museum of Art, MA, until February 6, 2011 -

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