Suspended Time


Hyvinkää, Hyvinkään taidemuseo

Installation with living birds, cages and prints.

Suspended time is devised as a series of journeys: a journey into Time, which proposes submersion in the movement of History; a journey into the series of self-portraits by Helene Schjerfbeck, which provides an initial overview of the Finnish artist; a journey into the physical and audible reality of birds which are the protagonists of the Hitchcock film of the same name and a journey into a spectrum of colours, which increasingly imposes its tonality on the experience.

Ten or so birds of different sizes and species, each enclosed within their own cage suspended from the ceiling, introduce the visitor to the spatial parameters of the exhibition. The birds are forced to share their cage with reproductions of self-portraits by Helene Schjerfbeck. By forcing cohabitation between bird and painting this first installation seeks to coerce a rewarding confrontation between the two.

One basic objective of the self-portrait appears to be the desire to capture and preserve a moment in time. Shutting the reproductions in cages is a comment on the artist’s endeavour to encapsulate a moment of her life, an instant which the presence of the birds – co-existing alongside each of the images – portrays as non-static thanks to the power of expression of the work of art. As an animated and expressive presence, the birds echo the vibrations of this captured moment, thus providing an observation on the capacity of art to communicate beyond the time of its creation.

As the birds are invited to maintain a privileged connection with the self-portraits, it is effectively their task to restore the music and expressiveness of the art works. The birds, as recognized artistic and aesthetic subjects, become the interpreters of the art. The relationship between bird and painting establishes an initial movement; that of an art form which finds in the ‘Other’ a form of expression capable of being emotional, critical or artistic, or that of an art work which inspires or reverberates in a dynamic reality that Time is powerless to suppress. The presence of the birds is recognition of the perennial nature of the art work and the impossibility of confining the discourse that it provokes. From within the installation, and as a creators in their own right, the birds flout the very device that seeks to contain them.

Shadows projects bodies and reproductions outside their conventional boundaries. These propose effects of distension into space and, in the same vein as a twelfth open cage on display midway through the journey, scupper any attempts at confinement, irrefutably undermining the efficacy of the trap.

As an ensemble of images, sounds, movement, projections, structure and montage the installation also represents a metaphor of cinematographic art – a transposition that is bound more closely to The Birds through the presence of the birds and the Schjerfbeck selfportraits.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet