The View Inside
The View Inside
Installation/The University of Michigan Museum of Art/2016/Ann Arbor, Michigan
Commissioned by the University of Michigan Museum of Art, The View Inside began as a series of measurements and a survey of details. The location designated for the project is an uninterrupted fifty-two-foot wall along a corridor. Given the specific constraints of the location, the project takes on the longstanding representational question of flatness. Learning from historical traditions of scenic wallpaper and panoramas, we began by conceiving of a closed room that is lined on the interior with a continuous image. Much like its precedents, this image has its own internal logic, details, and optical effects. In this case, however, the colorful narrative of traditional scenic wallpaper is replaced by a deadpan, monochromatic mise-en-scène. Elements like fake drapery, hardware, baseboard details, and difficult corners define the scene. When flattened and unfolded at one-to-one scale, the new scenic image aligns tightly to the corridor wall such that reality and illusion comingle in quiet and persistent ways. Perhaps we could say that the project works at the level of the background, shifting the context of the museum towards a strange and distant version of itself.
Traditionally, UMMA paints its gallery walls according to the collection: deep brown and purple for the South Asian and African galleries, maroon for the medieval wing, celadon blue for the East Asian gallery, and cool white for the modern and contemporary work. It is as if the paint color of the walls anticipates its inhabitants.
The interaction between the foreground and the background became an interesting condition of this project. While working, we noticed that the reading of color shifted significantly based on what was put in front of it. These photographs were taken with an iPhone under the same light conditions and within minutes of one another. Depending on the skin tone of the person in front of the work, the color effect of the background changes dramatically.
Design Team: Nancy Ai, Patrick Bennett, Massimiliano Boselli, Dutra Brown, Tiziana Felice, Arthur Gueiros, Rishab Jain, Melissa Lee, Chris Nolop, Tidus Ta