in pursuit of paradise
A two-minute journey inside a customized elevator serves as a prolog of sorts to the manufactured wilderness to which it opens - a voyage from the familiar into the fantastical. Mechanical birds perched in a dead tree periodically twitch as they emit their electronic chirps. Remote controlled decoy ducks bob about a misty pond and a turntable spins a vinyl record of birdcalls, each introduced by the canned intonation of a narrator. In Pursuit of Paradise comes together to form an expansive Algonquinesque composition. Its fiction is never in question and yet the various materials used collectively create the appearance of a natural environment in which the viewer becomes fully engaged.
The work explores our capacity to suspend disbelief and our ability to meld our perceptions in order to fit within a predetermined notion of what it is we are seeing. We can choose to engage a mock rock as a rock or a shag carpet as a grassy knoll despite our underlying awareness to the contrary. The limits in the ability to do so are tested amidst the points of abstract and absurd interjections.
"LOOK AT THIS: The Surreal Installations of Robert Hengeveld", Canadian Artist of the Week, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, May 17, 2014 (Link)