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Geoffrey Farmer, 2013.
An exhibition by Geoffrey Farmer
Tiziana La Melia
Listen to me I, I am a spider,
you must not mistake me for the sky,
the sky red at night is a sailor’s delight,
the sky red in the morning is the sailor’s warning,
You must not mistake me for the sky,
I am I
The Intellection of Lady Spider House is a new exhibition created for the AGA by Vancouver artist Geoffrey Farmer, which takes the form of his earliest memory of exhibition-making, a labyrinthine haunted house walk-through.
Conceived as a collaboration between artists and friends, The Intellection of Lady Spider House began when Farmer acquired an inventory of props and objects that had been used in various spook house attractions over the years in and around Vancouver and asked artists to respond to them. The title, while paying homage to American artist Bruce Conner’s 1959 assemblage entitled Spider Lady House, might also be understood as a metaphor for Farmer’s often obsessive web-like process of collecting and reclassification of materials into idiosyncratic systems.
The exhibition form also looks to Edmonton’s recent history, monuments and local contemporary contexts, influenced by Farmer’s visit to the city’s largest spook house and the colonial recreations contained within Fort Edmonton Park. Making a connection between the structure of a fun house and the form of the museum exhibition, Farmer and the artists working collectively onsite, have used props, theatre flats, stanchions and pathways to create a context in which to mix found objects, pre-existing artworks with newly commissioned works.
Farmer’s projects often oscillate between the imaginary and the symbolic, combining poetry with social commentary, examining the phantasmagoria of history as well as the exhibition process itself, with its fictional power and its temporal aspect. In his works, objects are somehow transformed and imbued with a strange sense of mystery and wonder. Yet in this work, we recognize that we ourselves are strange and physiologically complex beings. The uncanny truth is that while horror can easily be found its cinematic and celluloid forms, it is also in the real acts of people. The Intellection of Lady Spider House charms and beguiles, but also catches us in the complexity of this web.
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