St. John's based artists Pepa Chan, Kailey Bryan, and Mimi Stockland collaborated on a large-scale installation titled Grass in the Sky, a project also curated by Pepa Chan. The trio breathed new life into an abandoned Port Union home by filling it with toys, textiles, interactive sculpture, and video work.
From the exterior plush toys fastened to the building's yellow siding to the to the dismembered dolls peeking out of the shower stall, the site specificity of this installation makes it hard to separate the past life of the home from the work that now lives within it. Not only have the hands of the artists affected this space, but the hands of its previous owners and tenants are allowed to have their say in our experience of the work. Wallpaper that is now flaking away, mysterious marks, holes, and stains, as well as quirky design choices make us wonder who lived in this strange, eerie, but captivating house.
The building could not be more perfectly suited for Chan, Bryan, and Stockland's work. It's charmingly creepy quality is haunted further by things that push our mind to childhood fears like precious dolls and toys that have been lost or abandoned from the transition into adulthood or inanimate objects that look ready to come to life with the fall of night.
The house is also alive with the sound from video works that are projected right onto the walls and windows, the whispers of which follow you even after the video is no longer in sight. The videos act as windows into another world and add an undeniable energy to the space. As we walk from room to room, the narrative created in our minds shift and transform with each new discovery, and words we read that are repeated throughout the building (cry, try, fail) create a sense of defeat that is all too relatable to the outside world of responsibilities and realities.
Photos of this incredible project do not do it justice, and a visit to this installation is an experience you do not want to miss. View it in Port Union until September 17. Operation hours are Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm.
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