Letter to Elmhurst Art Museum from a visitor of PRESENCE
Starting with Light Seeing Light, I absolutely loved the interaction I had with the light. As a sculptor, I have worked a lot with clay and this sure felt like moldable light. When I moved passed Light Seeing Light, I went into Soundcube. I did not understand at first where the sound was coming from, and just as I thought I figured it out, “steps” began to play. I was so mind-blown because at first I thought it was actually someone walking towards us. As I moved into the different rooms, I saw Mirror Monolith. Mirror Monolith was a phenomenal interaction not only between the art itself and the viewer, but also the viewer and the person across their eyes. As I stepped in front of my boyfriend I became more aware of my size and how small I looked inside his silhouette.
Although all of the work was fabulous, I must admit Time Mirror was my favorite. As I walked towards the camera I was first confused about who those people were being projected onto the wall. As I realized it was me, I stepped closer and close. I laughed with my boyfriend and I waited to see me, in the video, do the same.
Still, nothing could have prepared me for what happened soon after. I saw myself in third person.
I was so overwhelmed with confusion and emotions of seeing me as a completely separate person then the eyes that were viewing her. She laughed and she moved so carefully. Suddenly, I felt my eyes water with excitement and emotions I had never experienced before. For the first time, in my entire life, I saw myself as a real person. I saw myself from someone else’s eyes. She looked so happy and silly. As I saw her cry, I cried even more because for once I cared about her as if she was a regular human being.
Every day that I’ve been alive, I have seen myself in mirrors, videos, or pictures. Yet, for some reason experiencing Time Mirror was completely different. In all honesty, I felt like it was a life changing experience to see myself like that.
As the artist soon explained to me what the piece was about, it all made perfect sense. Our lives are surrounded with picture perfect displays of who we want to be, or how we want others to see us; whether it is through selfies or Facebook, we create this image of ourselves. I got so used to the person I thought I was, or wanted others to think I was, that I forgot who I truly was, and that’s exactly what Time Mirror brought back.
Even though Time Mirror is my absolute favorite piece, Void Room is phenomenal as well. As I stepped into this black rectangle, I was scared of where I was going. After I took my first step I was terrified and I turned to my boyfriend right away to hold his hand, as I stepped into the unknown. We moved forward slowly and when we were half way through, we looked back into, what now became, a tall white rectangle; there was no going back. We inched closer and closer to what seemed to be a sphere. As I reached to touch it, I was so scared, yet intrigued. Soon after, I realized it was a huge fuzzy sphere. I walked back with confidence in knowing I had conquered my fear.
As I spoke to the artist, later, he explained to me what that piece was about and it clarified my reaction. Much like any risk in life, there is this hesitant first step. As we continue walking, one of the biggest challenges we face is fear, which drives me to understand why I needed a companion with me, to encounter the unknown.
I can honestly say that this is one of the best art exhibitions I have ever seen, or experienced. This work is outstanding and it completely blew my mind to see how the artist used art, concepts, and interaction to engage space, emotions, and the viewer. It was an honor to be able to see this show.