What’s Really Real?

Look at the picture at left.  Is this art?  You’re probably saying “hellz no, that’s just an empty gallery!” 

But what if that space was carefully constructed to make you think of “an empty gallery between exhibitions?”  This is what artist Rebecca Key has done for the Transformer Gallery on P Street in Logan Circle.

By asking the question What is real? Key examines how we observe our surroundings.  Coming from a background in set design for full-length movies, she knows that every single item in a shot is supposed to be there.  Especially in a Hitchcock picture, the frame is packed with symbolism.  By creating a space that looks real but is entirely artificial, she makes us (that is, if you stick around for some avant garde art, some of you are already out the door) ask what else around us is fake.  Real life has its charms, but one of my favorite things about movies is the intentional nature. 

The exhibition at Transformer has been painstakingly constructed by Key and two others, one a Scenic Artist (I want that job) and the other just your normal art director.  They took the inside of the gallery and constructed a space to reflect the space’s history as the alley of an old tenement building a hundred years ago.  Key treats this not as interactive art, but as a finished piece (so don’t touch!). 

Speaking of movies, Blade Runner is a perfect example of this idea.  If something that is not real is treated as real (and thinks she’s real), what’s the disconnect? 

The show runs September 10-October 15.

UPDATE: Now, your author, dear reader, is not one to crow at a perceived success on her part, but (BUT!) I am excited to announce that I scooped the Washington Post and DCist on the Rebecca Key Archetype review.  Happy days in blogland!  In the words of now-lame-duck Adrian Fenty, “On to victory!”


One Comment Add yours

  1. jkc says:

    mise-en-scene art, eh? interesting.

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