Since September 9, the Union Gallery has featured two new exhibits presenting a unique look into the way people’s backgrounds shape their worldviews.
Until November 10, a project titled Espace Plausible; Plausible Space by Mathieu Léger is being exhibited in the main space of the gallery, while a scene from a film by Lisa Lipton titled The Impossible Blue Rose is being shown in the gallery’s Project Room.
In his latest project, Léger focused on using maps — something familiar to him.
“I wanted it to seem like you were going over a mountainous terrain when you look at it,” Léger said. “[The map folds] are random, but I do want homogeneity over the whole piece.”
Léger added that his piece works to question the system of cartography and how maps are used as a political tool.
He mentioned how the Mercator projection of the map of the world — which makes Africa the size of Greenland — was meant more for uncomplicated navigation than accurate geographical representation. It’s this same quality of perception which makes the crumpled images of Léger’s piece seem three-dimensional and realistic.
And, depending on where you stand in the gallery, you have a different perspective of the three pieces, just like how the Mercator map changes the perspective of how one views the world.
This aspect also allows for the included photos to take on new qualities as viewers move and the gallery lights hit the pieces in different ways — much like on a real landscape.
The landscape becomes more than its physical features when you see the artists in the piece, wearing the same bright orange suit that construction workers use in cold areas.
Léger’s photographs represent the struggles of being an artist, explaining his desire to show the difficulties of toiling away behind closed doors for months on end to create a finished product.
The works are also about looking at the way we perceive life based on our location in the world. Léger wants to use the idea of identity as being something malleable and undefined to show that our perceptions are on less firm
footing that we think.
As well as Léger’s Espace Plausible; Plausible Space, the Union Gallery is currently showing the final chapter of a film titled The Impossible Rose by artist Lisa Lipton.
Lipton filmed the entire work during a research journey she took across North America from 2013-2016. The movie is about her own artistic exploration and the courage it takes to be vulnerable in the creative process.
The stories of nine people she met during her trip push the narrative forward. The single scene being featured at the gallery this fall depicts a Hawaiian man who Lipton met at the end of her journey. The scenes are usually close-ups of the young man’s face shown in an honest, unvarnished and imperfect manner.
“I wanted to make the observer a part of the landscape, a point in the terrain which changes as you change your perspective,” she said.
The installations currently shown at Union Gallery this season explore themes of culture and perspective by assessing what features of space we use to define our identity.
The two new exhibits will be featured at the gallery for public viewing until November 10.
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