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Turn Away

  • Archive, Archive Exhibitions, Exhibition

  • November 1999 - January 2000

Denise Marika’s work combines video and sculpture by embedding a moving image in a physical structure. Performing with her own body, the artist records activities or personal rituals. Her work concentrates on a nude figure or figures repeatedly performing a task, and explores issues of power, control, and vulnerability. The physical forms into which the images are embedded or projected structure these actions. The conceptual nature of this approach owes much to the work of Bruce Nauman, whose Green Light Corridor (1970-71) and Yellow Room (Triangular (1973) shared a gallery with Marika’s Turn Away at MASS MoCA.

Turn Away is comprised of two sculptural elements: a five-sided (8’×8’×20′) plywood box and a long copper drawer at the far end that houses three video monitors. Museum visitors were drawn into the plywood box to see the images on the monitors. The monitors showed Marika’s nude figure lying in the drawer as if in a coffin. She lay on her side facing the visitors, opening her eyes slightly, and quickly turning away. The action is repeated endlessly. Already confined — within the plywood box, the copper drawer, and the TV monitors — the figure further confines herself socially by turning away from the visitor.

Denise Marika, Turn Away, 1991