Criss-crossing beams of light in Anne Katrine Senstad’s newest installation transform This is Not a Gallery into an alternate experience of space — turning the old industrial warehouse into a theatre of lights, colors and music, housing a troupe of fantastic and transparent images that appear and multiply in the big room, which nevertheless stays strangely empty.
There are no reflected objects or persons in the room. In the huge warehouse, three video projectors stand almost at floor level and four transparent cloths hang in parallel to the walls. The cloths are tied to the girders of the tall ceiling and fall vertically towards the floor, without touching it. They form an ethereal square that floats in the middle of the gallery. Each video projector, located in a corner of the hall, projects its light onto the transparent fabric diagonally in front of it. It beams the same image, which multiplies, appearing seven times on different surfaces, on the fabric and the walls, at different sizes, and passes through the transparent material to reach the parallel wall, where it projects the same image, only bigger.
Senstad’s installation art in this old warehouse creates an atmosphere of immersion, where the soft and constant movements of light, color, and music encourage a different perception of time and space.
The video piece Color Variations II creates differently colored beams that range from diffuse sparkles that spread and flood the room to abstract geometric images, looking like flags of imaginary nations. The outline of a modernist construction suddenly appears in different colors and shades in The Locker Plant Projections, another of the video works. In another piece, The Venus Chapter, a woman walks along the shore at night as if the wind doesn’t exist. The space of the gallery has been turned into an enchanted stage — a site for the abstract coexistence of historical and imaginary periods of time, inhabited by a mix of ghosts and shadows of visitors and characters.
At the show’s opening, the sense of the spectral intensified during the performance of St. Cecile, a.k.a. Cecile Richards. The singer, who collaborates and composes the music for many of Senstad’s video pieces, moved among the cloths and videos in a long, white, flowing dress. Her slow movements recalled the image of the birth of Venus, just out of the sea. It invested her figure with a voice, a sound coming from the depths of her body. While the tone varied from low to high, it flooded the room with sound and echoes. Her voice articulated no recognizable word — it remained as abstract as the music and the pure color of light. The empty space housed this solid, snow-white character transmitting this mysterious, floating voice, powerful enough to transport us to a nocturnal scene outside of time where wind is only an image and music is a liquid in which to swim and dance.