Reviving Jacques Cousteau’s utopian dream of living underwater, Isola and Norzi’s first solo U.S. exhibition, Liquid Door, is an ongoing deep sea exploration that begins as a series of ephemeral and performative aquatic investigations at the exhibits of the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Brooklyn and ultimately ends at Cousteau’s original underwater structure off the coast of Sudan. Inspired by the intangible threshold of the liquid door—a surface between air and water created only by the pressure of the air inside an underwater living space—the resulting exhibition at Art in General features a series of new works that examine the aesthetic, social, and domestic interface between man and sea.
Isola and Norzi’s work has explored architecture as a site for minimal, poetic gestures that reveal the threshold between fiction and possibility. These interventions take shape as sculptures and installations that uncover hidden light shafts, patterns in the dust, and embedded telescopes that shift both perception and expectation. Inspired by the idea of a flooded museum as new site for such intervention, the artists’ recent work has taken them across the Indian Ocean and diving to the underwater ruins of Jacques Cousteau’s Starfish House in the Red Sea.
As an integral part of this ongoing research, the artist’s collaboration with the New York Aquarium reveals new possibilities for underwater exploration. The resulting exhibition at Art in General features a series of new works inspired by this research and the Aquarium itself. Combining references to Italian Mannerism, minimalist forms, and Cousteau’s architectural plans for an underwater aquarium, the artists’ sculptural works reckon with the possibility of deep sea domestic life and the prospect of failure inherent in the proposal for living underwater. Likewise, photographs and video work play with the reflective and revealing characteristics of both water and glass. Liquid Door repurposes the mise-en-scène of this other-worldly, deep sea experience, to create a formal exploration of the familiar structures of the aquarium as the threshold of perception and imagination.
Liquid Door was created in collaboration with The New York Aquarium as part of Art in General’s New Commissions program.