AIN’T GOT NO BUSINESS DOING BUSINESS TODAY
20 June – 7 July 2012
Ain’t Got No Business Doing Business Today continues Steph Wilson’s exploration of staged, controlled environments – the office, the foyer, the waiting room. Wilson’s project reflects upon the nature of these spaces and how social dynamics are mediated through transitory and impersonal environments. In Ain’t Got No Business Doing Business Today, Wilson has transformed BLINDSIDE’s second gallery into an office environment, with the closed psychological atmosphere of Wilson’s painted works seeping out into the exhibition space.
This project is a combination of painting and installation and references the contemporary corporate interior. This exhibition has been imagined and executed over a 6 month period and culminate in this exhibition.
This project is influenced by Eric Fischl’s Krefeld Project and the Museum Haus Esters, a residential house which was later turned into a museum. For this project Fischl hired actors and furniture and returned the building to it’s original domestic self. He photographed the actors in their domestic setting and used these images to make paintings, which were ultimately exhibited in the space once it was returned to a gallery state.
An important element to this installation, as with the Krefeld Project, is the manipulation of the space itself. The gallery space is distorted. Furniture is chosen and put into place. The gallery space is manipulated to become one resembling that of a corporate waiting room. Hard black couches are brought into the gallery, along with ‘designer’ magazine tables and an indoor plant. These design elements give us the impression of being in an uncomfortable environment, like you are waiting for your name to be called for a job interview. It feels like the kind of environment where social interaction is often stilted and awkward. These perceptions of corporate space are jarred by the knowledge that you are in an art gallery, a space that is traditionally used for presenting art. There are no cubicles in sight, and no transparent glass panels to give illusions of never ending space.
The act of representational image making is highly considered and emphasized through this installation. The furniture was sourced in the early stages, and images of this furniture were used in the creation of the painting. The floor plan of the gallery was used to map out the positioning of this furniture. The painting was then created using these plans. The painting represents the space in which it is to be installed.
This space is manipulated in the painted image, just as the physical space of the gallery was. While the furniture is recognizable as that in the space, the colours are altered and exaggerated in tone. The perspective of the space is unconvincing, as is the scale of the furniture in terms of the room. There is colour on one of the walls that is not present in the gallery. There are further inconsistencies within the image surface. There are parts that are gloss where others are matt. This unbalance creates further tensions within the image, and extends out to the gallery. These alterations to the painted image and of the physical space of the gallery are an attempt to subvert the perceptions of space both in an office environment and in a gallery.
The final element to this installation project is the presentation and exhibition of the painted image within the installation itself. Through the presentation of the works that were created in reference of the constructed space the emptiness of the gallery space is emphasized along with the social qualities of the space. This installation is an attempt to reflect on the nature of impersonal corporate environments; and how these environments mediate social dynamics. The reproduction of inhabited space combined with pictorial representation allows the viewer to question the nature of the typical office atmosphere, while highlighting the process of image making itself.
- Steph Wilson