Get Ready To Shoot Yourself
This installation references the ambiguity of space and time as it is depicted in the final dramatic shootout in a hall of mirrors in Orson Welles’s 1947 film, The Lady From Shanghai. The installation consists of a network of paintings, mirrored surfaces, and empty frames that make direct architectural reference to a traditional mirror maze and pulls the viewer into a dislocating, perceptive experience. Unlike in the cinema house, where the images move and the viewer remains still, here the viewer moves through the space, and enters an illusory representation of cinematic space and time. Slowly walking around the frames, the viewer realizes that certain parts of the image are repeated in separate paintings, and that each painted image is only one layer in a complex fragmented depiction. Three cut out and painted, life-size figures that belong to the scene literally exist outside the paintings, but are also able to melt back into them. So the viewer’s sense of spatial clarity in the image continually falls in and out of place. Once the viewer walks through the mirror maze section they enter into a video space surrounded by plexi mirror on the walls and hundreds of fragments on the ground. Looking back towards the front of the gallery, one sees that all the backs of the paintings, including the backsides of the figures, are mirrors. The viewer has entered a separate illusory space from the painted illusion they experienced while walking through the installation. The projected video slows down and speeds up the abstract beauty of the shattering mirrors within the scene, synchronized to a variety of tempos in a soundtrack created in collaboration with a DJ, through remixing and resampling dialogue, music, and sounds from the film, but also includes fragments from Hank Williams’s ballad, The Angel of Death.