Video still from Per Manning's, Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, 2005
June 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2010 (outdoors from dusk to 11 PM)
June 29 – September 26, 2010 (indoors)
Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum Terrace and Indoor Galleries
Night Light is the first in a series of indoor / outdoor projects organized by Laumeier Sculpture Park that frames the complex relationship we have to nature and the landscape around us. The works in Night Light were chosen for the way in which each explores our relationship to unseen forces that lay in the dark or behind closed doors. These dark forces includes a fear of the hidden recesses of the social body, the veiled corners of the subconscious mind or the very real presence of things, whether human, animal or other, that go bump in the night. Night is a time when destinies can be made, for good or ill; it is when we dream our dreams, and sometimes those dreams become nightmares.
Per Maning explores the inescapable connection between nature and culture in his series of films of animals outdoors, lingering over their faces as they move, sometimes mysteriously, through space. In Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, 2005, we see a dog playing “keep away” with the camera held by the artist. We interpret the animal’s sudden starts and stops and its heavy breathing based on our own experiences with our domesticated pets, but in the shimmering lights of the encrusted, snowy landscape, can we really tell the difference between the animal’s behavior and the artist’s own movements? Maning suggests the mutual effect humans and animals have on each other, but most important, that we cannot truly understand what the dog’s expressive movements might mean to her.
In much of his work, Chicago-based artist Doug Ischar discovers and interprets social situations that are “hidden in plain sight.” He tracks, with stealth, the relationships between humans, placing them into a larger social realm. For Laumeier, Ischar, in collaboration with Tom Daws, has created a new work based on an early 1970s recording of a séance with author Charlotte Brontë (1816 - 1855). Brontë wrote about the changes happening in Victorian England during industrialization and the impact of the retreat from nature on human relations. Ischar’s actors play to and against Brontë’s words.
Collaborative team Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann track the haunting spaces of an abandoned industrial building in Fighting city, Berlin Ruhleben, walk-through, 2009. Shot in an abandoned space formerly used as a fire-fighting training ground, the artists use natural light to document where the outside world is visible from the inside. The work takes on a more malevolent face, however, as the artists slowly walk through the space, the sound of crunching detritus haunting their steps. The work appears to come from a documentary background but has as much in common with horror films, here the horror being the left-over carcass of our naturalized industrial landscape.
- Marilu Knode, Executive Director
Museum hours are: Tuesday-Friday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday 12:00 PM-5:00 PM (Free)