- January 24, 2007 - April 29, 2007
From the Wizard of Oz to X-Men 3, the image of the suburban American home-in-flight has long figured in the vocabulary of collective fantasy. The “high anxiety” of losing one’s foundation has not been lost in contemporary art, as artists continue to rethink our psychic ties to the American home and landscape. Unhinged brought together for the first time New York artists Peter Garfield and Adam Cvijanovic, who have each turned the flying home into a metaphor for personal, psychological turbulence.
While rooted in the tradition of 18th-century Venetian painting, particularly Tiepolo’s famed ceiling frescos, Adam Cvijanovic’s mobile murals on Tyvek® align themselves as much with the artifice of film sets as with the theatrical illusions of the Baroque. For his series After the End of Gravity (2005-present), Cvijanovic keeps the Venetian palette intact within the modern, post-capitalist dreamscape he envisions where small houses hover quietly behind the swarm of consumerist “stuff” that once filled their walls.
Peter Garfield’s series Mobile Homes (1994-99) blurs the lines between documentary evidence and the patent artifice of photographic production. Within the heavy grain of each photograph, a modest house is suspended above unremarkable suburban terrain—simultaneously threatening either to ascend into orbit or pitch down towards earth. Revising the postmodern conversation about “photographic truth,” Garfield’s work as staged fiction was further complicated by his production photographs (replete with cranes, helicopters, and a team of workers) which documented the fiction behind his artistic process.
Blending the realities of the suburban landscape with a fantasy of flight, the works that were included in Unhinged conjure notions of the American dream as well as the specter of divorce, domestic disturbance, and the drudgery of materialism that fuel a corresponding nightmare.
Unhinged was part of the continuing series of MASS MoCA exhibitions presented in conjunction with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in support of MASS MoCA and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
Adam Cvijanovic, Suspension of Disbelief, 2007
photo by Kevin Kennefick