As long as people have been dying, there have been others claiming that they can communicate with them from the great beyond. One of the most interesting manifestations of this belief was the spiritualist movement of the late 19th century. Hundreds of men and women emerged in North America and Europe claiming that they were ‘mediums’ attuned to the souls of the dead.
The movement’s rise coincided with the early days of photography and there were numerous examples of doctored photographs that proved the existence of ghosts, spirits and other supernatural beings. The last days of spiritualism dovetailed with the rise of film that other visual medium and this is what New York based artist Zoe Beloff explores in her installation “The Ideoplastic Materializations of Eva C.” showing at Gallery TPW until the end of the month.
Beloff’s elaborate installation mashes together the stereoscopic images of the 1950s (get out those 3D glasses!), with more current technologies like surround-sound to re-enact ten seances held by Baron von Schrenk-Notzing between 1910 and 1914.
The figure of Eva C. floats before our very eyes and sometimes distorts giving her an appropriate, other-worldly appearance. Text floats before our eyes, probably not unlike the spirits that the Baron claimed to have seen. The end effect is disconcerting yet strangely attractively immersive.
If you’re looking for a very literal art crawl you might want to check out the meanderings of artist Cindy Baker. The Saskatoon-based artist will be wandering the streets of Toronto in her “Plexiglass Box” Friday and Saturday.
Torontoist loves the semiotic richness of her piece. Quoting the artist “[Plexiglass Box] is a shark cage from which to record nature’s dangerous creatures, a bank teller’s cage, a germ free zone (à la the boy in the bubble), a portable popemobile – all implying a need to protect the person inside. It references the annoying mime in his glass box, entertaining all who will pay attention, Houdini’s ‘inescapable’ glass waterboxes, Penn and Teller’s clear magic tricks with which they literally shatter the illusion of the magic establishment, women’s “glass ceiling” (and walls), a metaphor as relevant in the artworld as it is in business…” Wow.
Both these artists are part of the very excellent Images Festival, which sadly closes this weekend.