Vikky Alexander – Unnatural Horizons
Vernissage / Opening: 9 December, 2017, 15H – 18H30
For the installation Lake in the Woods (1986), Vikky Alexander covered one of the walls of the New York Cash/Newhouse Gallery with a landscape photomural similar to the type found on the walls of confined spaces—hospitals or dentists’ waiting rooms, backdrops of dive bars, or suburban basement dens —as a comforting escape toward an imaginary outside. On the opposing wall, the artist placed simulated wood panels with a band of inlaid mirrors that allowed the viewer to see details of this landscape and to glance at their reflections. Alexander retrospectively explained that the idea of such a bipartite scenography came to her as the adequate response to the constraints of the site itself: a long corridor flanked by zigzagging irregular walls that lead to the gallery office. Beyond accentuating the characteristics of the site, she also aimed to offer a counterbalance to the return of figuration and of the heroic artistic subjectivity that dominated the market at this particular moment (Julian Schnabel, David Salle, German neoexpressionism, Italian transavanguardia, etc.). Alexander said that collectors passed through the gallery, seemingly without seeing anything and walking directly to the office. Bemused, they asked the staff why there was no exhibition. Over a half decade later, Lake in the Woods would be acquired by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and this entry into the museum would correct the near-absence of the artwork’s reception during the inaugural presentation in 1986.
To read the entire essay, please open the PDF listed below or click here.
Lake in the Woods, 1986
Cash/Newhouse Gallery, New York.