I had the pleasure of making it to the Whitney Museum on Friday, the final weekend of the Charles LeDray exhibit “WORKWORKWORKWORKWORK”. It was pretty incredible how deeply I could be involved in these pieces, mini-installations on small, detailed clothes and thousands of miniature vases… As the prologue to the exhibit read: “Simply said, everything is the scale it needs to be.”
Although its hard to relate the entire experience of seeing the exhibit, there were a couple of pieces in particular that were moving to me. First, “Hole”. A miniature shirt, tie, suit jacket, hanging on a wooden hanger. But with a hole cut through the chest of the whole ensemble. There was something so eerily absent from the chest of this small figure, but also so focusing: what was it that you could see when you peered into the heart (or, the space where that heart would be) in this small space?
(For a sense of the scale, an image of the piece at right and the image of a person viewing another piece in the exhibit– “Men’s Suits”– that includes jackets of the same size/scale.)
The other piece that I could not seem to walk away from was “Dispatch (#1), 1992”. At first glance the stack of doll house scale chairs, dressers, tables, outhouse door, etc. are almost whimsical. But it seemed that there was something more. As I examined more the small tower more closely I saw that each piece in the mountain was quite elegant and that they were so delicately balanced — they had a collective fragile quality to them. Then I read the placard and the materials list gave me a new perspective: “Human bone and paper”. Something was altogether new in the piece. I then stood near the piece for quite some time. At first I was marveling at the beauty and the meaning, then I was sticking around just to see other patron reactions to the placard. They did as I did. As soon as they read the placard they were compelled to look again, with a new perspective.