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Børre Sæthre, I’ve been guilty of hanging around


Participant Inc.
253 East Houston Street, 212-254-4334
East Village / Lower East Side
September 10 - October 15, 2006
Reception: Sunday, September 10, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

Known for his immersive environmental installations, Sæthre will transform the gallery and alter aspects of PARTICIPANT INC’s physical space as an integral layer of this open-ended, quasi-narrative sculptural installation. The viewer is introduced to a de-familiarized space that engages a curious sensibility. Furtive display devices create glimpses into an idiosyncratic natural world inhabited by poised animals-oddly disjoined from the overall décor to create awkwardly sexual sites for voyeuristic activity, just watching….

Sæthre’s scripted experiential installations (sculptural and reconstructed environments, light, soundscapes, photographic and time-based images) approximate the uncanny ambiance of dreams, the luxurious containment of cinematic experience. Like the influential films Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968), his work relies heavily on the significance of otherworldly ambiances and a collective inclination toward irrational encounters, for example, with animals or unearthly phenomena. At once austere and saturated with clandestine fantasies, his spaces comprise confessions, secrets, and voyeuristic longings that linger within seemingly impermeable interiors-outlined in the structure of a totalizing environment and zoomed-in upon through extracted photographic tableaux.

The framework of design methodology, or the artist’s attempt to maximize the residual friction between style and non-style in his work, is described by Sæthre as a learned vernacular-functional aesthetics as psychological damage-that he developed through growing up in an ultra-modern, wipe-clean interior. A realization that even these plastic environments can absorb emotionality, everyday trauma and frustration, served as motivation to subsequently heighten this fact in works that rupture pristine surfaces-revealing their failure to conceal the abject, the depressive, the unpleasant. The appearance of subliminal warnings in his installations take the form of irritating camera flashes, sounds that approximate ringing in the ears, and views of silent, distant explosions.

However, the artist also cites the locus of his work in childhood excursions outside the home (sleeping outdoors in a tent, forest adventures with friends, dreams of forging relationships with animals)-experiences that yielded fear as well as the excitement of innocent sexual encounters. Later confessions reveal this secret world, in forms such as film stills depicting the acquaintance of unusual love partners, bringing to mind childlike desires for the warmth of friendly creatures. Early works also stem from teenage observations of cruising areas, providing sculptural mappings of melted impressions made in ice and snow.
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