Baroque Machine

Baroque Machine, wood, mirror, mild steel, foam, acrylic on canvas. Size variable

Baroque Machine is composed of a wardrobe-like structure, with double doors at the front and oddly at the rear. Each of the six interior surfaces is lined with full-length mirrors. The work stands as a lonely structure with its doors ajar so as to invite the audience to peer in and open the door where they see a single peculiar garment painted, by a folding technique, with pink irregular hexagonal shapes. In a performative act, a nomadic body arrives in the room encased in an igloo-like structure. Removing the garment it soon forms an exterior skin over the igloo’s monadic interior. The nomad enters through the doors and stands still caught in an infinity of reflections. Then suddenly the nomad disappears through the rear doors.

The pattern for the igloo, developed through a series of sketches of nomadic enclosures and a plasticine maquette, was traced and then scaled to human size. Formed of foam the igloo was used to construct a pattern for the canvas garment. Constructed by fashion design techniques the resulting canvas garment form a curious painting.

The work imagines, through the fantasy of the children’s story, the wardrobe as a portal to another world that stands in timeless relation to this one. At the same time, the work explores the relation between sense and non-sense and doubles through the mirror as experienced by Lewis Carroll’s Alice. In our contemporary world, the isolated monad has become nomadic. A neo-baroque machine that destabilizes and de-centres, in which we are no longer isolated but forced to confront a chaosmos in which sense and non-sense, compossible and incompossible coexist. The igloo, with its hexagonal exterior, acts as a monad that contains not just this world but with the hexagonal Library of Babel, an opening to many possible worlds.