2001 Incarnations: Suspended, Paddington Uniting Church
Suspended: Site-specific installation, 2001
Theatricality is a common thread in the practice of both art and religion. The complex traditions of religious worship and ancient rituals are a form of theatre and performance.
Suspended is a large-scale installation that explores the interplay between theatre, art and religion within the architectural structure and religious context of a church.
The work consists of an interactive scene, created using sculptural forms as sets and props designed to fit the scale of the church’s interior. The scene employs dramatic techniques of suggestion and metaphor to invite the participation of the viewer.
The installed props in this stage set are not intended as art pieces and are not to be viewed as precious artistic commodities. Created entirely from industrial materials, they are designed to establish a gestalt effect where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this case, the whole is a theatre in the round and the stage is set for a play where the viewer writes their own script.
There are six sculptural works suspended in the spaces between the arches of the eight columns that subdivide the internal space within the church. These forms act as allusions to liturgical vestments and garments, but may also suggest more arcane religious reliquary or even suspended personages. Their red internals, hidden by black exteriors, evoke the notion that light exists on the inside and emanates outwards. On the floor is the representation of a maze, coupled with red felt slippers, provided for walking softly and silently, so that one may experience internal reverie and the music of the heartbeat.
Delicate rays of natural light enhance the classic proportions of the traditional church, with their majestic vaulted ceilings. The church space was originally designed to create a sense of stillness where one could commune with heavenly forces. It was designed to encourage self-knowledge within the quiet environment that gave a momentary impression of time standing still.
The title Suspended alludes to timelessness, motion in stillness, suspended animation, still time, absence of time and moving beyond time. It speaks of the past, present and future merging to become one. My theatre in the round embraces these abstractions and encourages us to reflect on the human construct of time and its meaning in our lives.