Walker and Walker
Walker and Walker
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2004, fibreglass, metal, paint, fluorescent lights, dry ice.

An installation reworking the mountain in Casper David Friedrich’s painting, Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog.

Unpainted Mountain is simultaneously immersed in and cut off from the world beyond art. Two fibreglass mountains float on clouds of light. The white halogen light has no edge because dry ice blends the light with that of the room, turning this installation into a vignette that merges the spaces of art and spectator. They are painted white to look like they are not painted. Not-painted, here, is a signifier, not a natural state. The mountains are not in their original fibreglass state; they are contrived to appear untouched. They are not raw, then; they are ghostly, blanched, colourless. Face-to-face with these mountains, we are not the spectators of a scene, a picturesque beauty spot. The landscape is not framed, cut off, in space; it is cut off from the world it occupies by being flayed of its skin, plucked from the appearance of its appearance.

White objects in galleries are mirrors of the gallery itself. White paintings identify themselves with the white walls on which they hang and white sculptures mimic the white plinths on which art objects are elevated to meet the visitor’s gaze framed by white walls. ‘Unpainted Mountain’ separates itself from the world by adapting itself, ghoulishly, to the gallery, disappearing in its white on white purity like a phantom, a vision, a feeling. Here the binary of the separation of art from life and the merging of art and life is caught in a tense tidal flow, pulling away and rushing back in, neither decidedly autonomous nor finally immersed in everyday life. Here is a landscape that is quite unnatural. The trees are white and the rocks are white. As such, they merge together and hide one another. Unpainted Mountain is an oxymoronic object: a monochrome landscape.” Extract from Allegories of Reverie, by David Beech.

Installation shot at RHA Gallery, Dublin.

See also Until now