New work from artist Elizabeth Gerdeman, under the title Outside In, focuses on the window architecture of the exhibition space at Helmut as the starting point for lines of thought and courses of action in what was recently referred to by an advertising campaign for a home paint company as an “unpredictable world that is keeping us excited and vigilant at the same time.”
The exhibition grounds studies of place within the framework of home improvement products and advertising, contemporary painting practices in their broadest sense, and particularly in the social theoretic approaches to landscape from the protective distance of the indoors. Here plastic foil flecked with paint remnants may serve as curtains, colours can appear as light framed within the space or as a sunrise/sunset gradation painted on wallpaper, and hand-printed monotypes on transparent sheets could capture pigmented water stains as both alternative passages and boundaries. Though nothing is as it seems, as views of the exterior and the interior present a multiplicity of insider and outsider meanings, desires, and anxieties.
For this exhibition, Gerdeman also references an Emily Dickinson poem titled “The Angle of a Landscape—” where the poet’s own perspective of the world changes when she awakens and mistakes forms outside her bedroom window for unfamiliar shapes, as if a landscape picture were upended. Dickinson comments on how the entire scale and nature of everything we see depends entirely upon one’s viewpoint. This comparison between the variability and vulnerability of the outside environment with the relative consistency of our interior surroundings serves as a point of departure for Gerdeman to confront the conflicting ways we perceive of our world.
Elizabeth Gerdeman, OUTSIDE IN, site specific installation, Helmut, Leipzig, Germany 2017, photo courtesy of the artist