This week we began the installation of the showing⏐thinking 2017 show. My primary goal for installing was to determine the overall shape and size of the book sculpture, up until this point I had yet to decide where any of the content for Casey’s space would actually go. I wanted the books to determine where the installation would go. After we had moved roughly 200 or so books into the space I began laying them out in an arc on the gallery floor.
At this point I still was not sure what the book sculpture would ultimately end up looking like, but I decided to continue on the path I was on and let the books and gallery space inform me as to what it would be. As I added layers I still lacked a certain direction. Should it be symmetrical? Is this even going to be stable? How am I going to make this work? These books, deceptively heavy, gave me quite the mental and physical workout. Going into this with no plan seemed like the best idea, however a sense of direction would have been a safer route. But as I worked at it, the form eventually came through the materials.
The overall shape was both comforting as a sort of book hug, as some put it, but also anxiety ridden as the sloping angle on the right side feels precarious and unsafe. After this work day I had accomplished what I considered the hardest piece of my space, and now all I had to do was the rest.
The weekend was a continuation of the installation process. After the initial installation of the books I had thought that it would only get easier from there. But after a sudden illness and no clear plan I had walked myself right into a corner. At this point I had a pile of materials and no ideas were jumping out at me. I started working with Casey’s elementary school report cards. I enjoyed how the color of the papers matched the green of the books, as well as the gridded form in which they were hung, providing a nice counter balance to the asymmetric form of the book sculpture.
The shadows that the paper’s created on the wall created a nice form and sense of movement. After these were hung I still had a bevy of materials to work with. My hardest task was finding a way to display the lock picking set and some of Casey’s books. I played around with the placement of the pedestals, not wanting to block sightlines or interrupt the form of the books.
After I placed these I worked on the wall seen behind them. I had a folder of Casey’s personal notes written on scraps of paper. While I had also scanned the notes into a collage-esque format, I wanted to display these papers as objects within the space as well. The grid was something that I felt paralleled the gridded report cards on the wall opposite this one. The asymmetric shape of the top was meant to reflect the asymmetry of the book sculpture.
The last piece of the “puzzle” was the red chair from Casey’s living room. The shade of the chair matched that of the round wall in the gallery and the shape withe the form of both the book structure as well as the staircase itself. By placing the chair on a low platform we elevated it from a piece of furniture to an element of intentional design.