Here is another short recap of an exhibit I saw recently, which was actually one of the most terrifying art shows I’ve ever seen. The exhibit of installations by Thierry Dreyfus was at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn (where I’ve helped with some exhibits through Recession Art). It was entitled (Naked) Absence – (Blinding) Presence, and incorporated photography, light, smoke, and, yes, mirrors. Above you can see what was in the main gallery space: upright somewhat distorted mirrors by a red wall, where you would see someone who was yourself, but not the self everyone sees. Downstairs with all the belts (the Invisible Dog was once a belt factory) was an exhibit of photography.
In the back of the main gallery was the most intense part of the exhibit. A space was walled off to create a separate, pitch black room you entered after weaving around corners. The only illumination came from under a transparent statue of a naked man with his arms raised. In the background, you could hear the beating of a heart. It got faster and faster as the light became brighter and brighter under the statue, until it reached its peak and then the lights suddenly shut off and you were in complete darkness. If I hadn’t already been traumatized into the uncanny valley by the William Kentridge exhibit at the Fort Worth Modern, I would say this was the most unsettling art show I’ve ever seen. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing. I really admire any artist who can evoke such a strong reaction as this one did. Maybe I should curate an artists’ haunted house someday with such installations. What an unnerving, yet beautiful, experience it would be.