For her first solo exhibition in Europe, Sarah BOSTWICK (°1979) transforms the ground floor of the gallery. Taking as her base materials the original woodwork of the building, which was removed and preserved during the renovations, she redesigns the architectural environment, allowing for a reflection on the memory of the place and on the codes usually established for an "art place". She has aptly titled her exhibition Passages.
Her work takes shape in the two large rooms on the ground floor in a very clear manner. Using old frames and doors, the artist reinterprets the architectural habits favoured by the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the century, adding certain typically American characteristics. She has recreated some of the mouldings and panelling found in many Brooklyn buildings. The balustrade is reminiscent of the wooden fences found in American courthouses and in some churches and temples. By inserting this element into the gallery space, Sarah creates a disturbance: at first glance, it closes off the space and renders inaccessible a part usually devoted to exhibitions. She subtly raises the question of man's permanent conditioning by the structure of his environment. The viewer is in a position of choice. Either they remain behind the balustrade and respect the space assigned to them by the artist, or they decide to push a gate cut into the balustrade and enter the room. Transgression is permitted, if not required, but the barrier remains a very present psychological limit.
As for the room on the left, Sarah has built a vestibule, a small space made entirely of wood. While reminding us that this place was once a place of passage (in addition to a doctor's house, the building was also a medical analysis laboratory), she positions us as if we were in a sort of airlock, which is in obvious contrast to the exhibition rooms.
Two works, entitled Grand Central and Rose Cinema, are fixed in the rooms. One is a collaboration with artist/engineer Jim Campbell; the other is an etched, polished and painted white high relief. Grand Central refers to the New York train station and is like a moving painting with shadows that move through the immaculate high relief. The movement of the silhouettes is silent and reminiscent of a ballet danced by businessmen, tourists and passengers in this transit hall.
Rose Cinema is a larger room that vibrates under the slightest variations in light. It represents the interior of a Brooklyn theatre. From a certain angle, you get the impression that the stage of this theatre is under the spotlight and that the show is about to begin. As the day progresses, the lights fade and the show seems to have never happened or ended. The room is empty, but it seems as if the light animates this space where the reflections of life are usually played out. Several interpretations open up when one observes this work attentively; a sort of flamboyant ruin, this room amplifies the emptiness like a resonance chamber and leads us to ask questions about the dramas that may have been played out in this place. The memory of the place, again and again.