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.

MacDonald Stewart Art Centre


"LOOK AT THIS: The Surreal Installations of Robert Hengeveld", Canadian Artist of the Week, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, May 17, 2014 (Link)

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