December 8, 2017

Vikky Alexander – Unnatural Horizons

Galerie L’escalier
Montréal, Québec
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.)[1]. 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[2]. 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[3].

To read the entire essay, please open the PDF listed below or  click here.

Image Credit:
Vikky Alexander
Lake in the Woods, 1986
Installation view
Cash/Newhouse Gallery, New York.