IAIN MACHELL   Drawings and Sculpture
"Objets Perdus (Bedbook)" Site-Specific Installation at Dieu Donne Gallery, New York City
1996
Handmade paper, steel, rust
Each sheet 40" x 60"
Bedbook investigates the bed as a "lost object", a symbol of life, sex, and death that is simultaneously threatening and life-affirming. The central steel "bed frame" functions as a surrogate for the body, and evokes the figure not by analogy, but by silent absence. 8 paper "bedsheets" retain the negative imprint of the steel bed form, coloured by rust that suggests not only a growing organic stain but also slow decay. These impressions explore the concept of vacancy that was evident in the negative casts of Marcel Duchamp, developed in the negative body and furniture casts of Bruce Nauman, and continued with Rachel Whiteread's negative casts of furniture and architectural spaces.
The fragile paper "sheets" function as imaginary book pages, frail, vulnerable, and hovering precariously in horizontal space, and owe much to the influence of the quirky post-minimalist multiples of Eva Hesse. The paper itself is recycled and repulped from 3 previous installation projects, so each reformed sheet retains the memory and presence of past work. Bedbook is also intended to explore issues of private space (bedroom) and public space (gallery) to create a psychological and spatial tension.
"Public space by its nature can't seem to deal with secret places like bedroom, basement, attic....once you have hidden spaces, public space becomes a private space." Vito Acconci
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