The evening before the public opening was a bit more dramatic one might hope. Our friend and studio neighbor Terada Shinobu has spent the past two months painstakingly constructing a delicate eight-foot wall made of thousands of gauze bandages. His work crosses over into a variety of media – video, performance, photography, installation, and painting… but it always incorporates gauze bandages because of their material and conceptual flexibility.
Terada-san’s installation this time was built to be the counterpoint for a big performance on opening night involving a rockstar-esque stage dive into the exquisite eight-foot tall wall, but things took an unexpected turn around 10pm the night before, when the cord from a vacuum he was using to clear the rest of the space caught the corner and pulled the whole thing down in about two seconds.
It was a pretty dire situation and most of us were at a loss for words. Everyone was working late that night for the event the next day, and soon a small crowd of artists and staff members gathered to assess the damage and help Terada figure out what to do.
It was decided that we’d resurrect the fallen wall as best we could, which seemed a bit impossible given the ephemeral nature of the whole thing... but ten or twelve people began to slide sheets of plywood underneath, caaaarefully pulled and pushed, and in an amazing feat of collaborative energy managed to get the whole thing back up! The end result was a bit more tousled than the original, but pretty great in its own sort of way – the delicacy of the layers was miraculously intact, with a tousled waterfall of bandages careening over the top.
The evening of the opening, the work included time-lapse video of the work in progress (which he’d been documenting during the residency) along with documentation of its destruction and resurrection. The unplanned bit from the night before created a strange loop of time travel, suggesting that the wall that had just been destroyed in performance might rise again after the performance, extending his gesture toward the themes of perfection, control and destruction beyond the theme of virtuoso guitar-smashing to something strangely hopeful. The dive went well and everyone cheered, and after the performance visitors were invited to take off their shoes and wade through the mounds of gauze on the floor, breaking it apart. The piece has since turned into a daily process of reconfiguration and metamorphosis.