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Fernanda D'Agostino: "Theatre of Memory" (Secret of Shadows")

Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
Thru Apr 28, 2001 - 2001

Theater of Memory

During the Renaissance Guilio Camillo constructed a physical Teatro del Memoria, and it was said to encode all the knowledge of the time. It is a curious process where an inner "memory theater" of architectural space is imagined. Dramatic images, symbolic of words and ideas are then placed along stations of the journey through this space. Fernanda D'Agostino's installation which incorporates video, fused glass and chains suggests this process. D'Agostino places a bronze cast of rose stems on one wall. The roses and roots have been cut off, leaving thorned and criss-crossed branches reminiscent of winter. There is a projected image of a bird to remind us that time outside our thoughts belongs to nature. The blue light of a television screen casts shadows on a fused glass image of a sleeping child. This could imply television's competition for memory space. D'Agostino has made glass wings that hang motionless reflecting flames from the screen. The wings are symbolic of the moral of Icarus. Once memory leaves its subconscious island its wings may burn up in the conscious world. Memory is not easy to retrieve. We think we have the past in mind, but on closer examination it is often unclear and missing major components. When we attempt to describe what we believe we remember, the description frequently disappoints.

© Robert Peterson