22 November 2016

from here on there be dragons

Now open at Split Screen Installation Space, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, is from here on there be dragons, a striking new work from Alpha Auer. Set amid a minimalist city hovering the air — reminiscent of the artist's fabulous Blueprint City (read here) — are bold and highly detailed dragons, their formidable golden forms reflected in the floor that supports them. In keeping with the contrasting modern/ancient pairing of materials and the simple/ornate use of textures in the overall build, the floor texture alternates between a thick transparent glass and a leaf from a 1570 atlas by the Renaissance map maker Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, which hearkens back to an earlier age when dragons possibly still existed (at least in the imaginative minds of the day).

"They are about unknown things," says Alpha as she comments on the dragons, "possibly grave dangers, but possibly also magnificent wonders which we cannot untangle unless we tackle the dragons that guard them first. These dangerous wonders reside within our inner selves as much as they reside in external circumstances. Of these it is the inner territory that interests me more — hence the abstraction of the architecture that my, seemingly real, dragons guard. Because what is unknown in the inner self is abstract, but our fear of it is very concrete."

Remarkably, in this modern Second Life world in which most new notable creations are mesh, the dragons in the build are crafted, and beautifully so, out of old-fashioned sculpted prims. Alpha may be best known to some readers as a creator of avatars through her shop alpha.tribe (read here), and for this build she provides a free unisex avatar that's available at the entrance to the installation. from here on there be dragons will remain on display through January 31.