Art 600 Preview: Students Collaborate to Reinstall Previous Work with a Theme of Fantasy

The theme of “Alice in Wonderland” is promeinent in the ART 600 reinstallation, with many floating and shiny objects hung around the space. Students relocated their projects from the sanctuary to the Gelb Gallery.

Thin red strings entwine around a bundle of sticks, forming a large heart-shaped structure. Criss-crossing shadows are cast against the walls behind the piece, which hangs near the back of the Gelb Gallery. A similar heart-shaped collection of mirrors on the wall behind it reflects light across the rest of the room, depicting various vibrant and colorful compositions dangling from the ceiling.

This sculpture, constructed by Minji Shin ’20, was only one of many art works created by Art-600 students for their Gelb Gallery Reinstallation. They recently took down their individual projects displayed in the Cochran Bird Sanctuary and reinstalled them into one collaborative exhibit in the gallery.

The change in environment presented some obstacles during the reinstallation, according to Valerie Tang ’20.

“In the Sanctuary, it was very much us trying to express our own concepts through our own art, and also thinking a lot about how our pieces interact with the Sanctuary and how that makes it unique. But here we don’t have as much to work with, so we have to think of creative ways to adapt our pieces to this environment instead,” said Tang.

One of the general themes of the reinstallation was the idea of “Alice in Wonderland.” By hanging objects in the air and using several objects associated with nature, Minji Shin ’20 described some of their initial inspirations in creating a mystical theme.

“We started brainstorming off of the idea of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because a lot of pieces are very sparkly and almost unnatural. They’re mundane, natural objects, but we transformed them into an art piece, and we were inspired by that to [construct an] ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme. Everything is hanging and the physics of the world is defied,” said Shin.

According to Therese Zemlin, Instructor in Art, this year’s reinstallation stood out compared to previous years because of the students’ ability and willingness to collaborate with others.

“It’s very different every year because the assignment is so open that students bring [their] own experience and interests to it. I think one thing that is different with this group is the students have not all been resistant to the collaborative element of it… this group I think has been the most open to collaborating,” said Zemlin.

According to Shin, by collaborating with her peers and merging together individual artworks, the meaning of her own piece has shifted.

“We individually made our own pieces, but… [by combining them], we’re creating new pieces. Although I’ve known my piece for a certain amount of time, it transfers its meaning to another one when it’s combined together [with other pieces of art],” said Shin.