GERHARDT KNODEL, born 1940
Night Shade, 1995
various synthetic fabrics, mylar, felt, and photographic transparencies
Knodel's installation addresses the depletion of meaning that art often suffers when placed in museums. He sees this as especially true for works whose cultural context is foreign to most visitors.
By covering a group of Islamic objects with a fabric "tent," Knodel evokes the temporary nomadic architecture of the Middle East. As viewers we become voyeurs, gazing at objects in the "tent" through piercings in the fabric.
Inside, works of art that have been removed from their original context find a more sympathetic environment than the impersonal gallery. The fabric's metallic quality suggests insulation from the cold and also conveys a particular feeling of place and time.
According to Knodel, the installation is an imaginative allusion to "a tent seen at nightfall by a river on the Iranian plain." He adds that "while the silvery tent evokes a distant moonlit night, the images imprinted on the fabric lining situate the work in the contemporary world."
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