Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Artist Spotlight: Sarah Oppenheimer
aircraft grade plywood, framing structure, view into neighboring yard across street
Sarah Oppenheimer opens apertures in existing architecture, modifying the recognizable modular units (such as rooms) that make up our standardized built world. Interested in the way that people navigate their environments through both familiar bodily experience and with the aid of navigational tools, like maps, Oppenheimer’s works alter the visitor’s experience and perception in the gallery space.
For this installation Oppenheimer created an opening in the floor of a small gallery on the fourth floor. This is the first time in the museum’s 30-year history that an artist has reconfigured the building structure in this way.
This aperture, or “wormhole,” as Oppenheimer refers to the type of hole she created, offers a new line of sight within the exhibition space and functions as both a hole and a screen directing the viewer’s gaze down and out the third floor window. The hole creates a disorienting sense of an impossible proximity between the fourth floor and the external world outside.
The space of display—the museum gallery—is transformed from a container for specific objects into a lensed view of the outside world. The fourth floor gallery floor and the third floor window are part of the work. The shaped hole in the interior floor extends through the armature, framing a vista out the side of the building. In this way Oppenheimer has created a zone for pictorial reflection. The view of the outside world is framed and is accepted as the work.
Oppenheimer alters our vision, alters our expectations. Like a film director she directs our gaze and moves it through her framing device. While everyone will have a different view through the hole, depending on their position in the gallery space and depending on their height, the viewer follows the sight line to see the view into a neighboring yard across the street.
The title of the work, 610-3556, is derived by reference to a typology or classification system created by the artist that describes, in graphic form, how the hole is perceptually perceived and the materials used to create it.
Inner and Outer Space runs through January 11, 2009.